Ranji Trophy: Jay Bista makes ‘one last chance’ count

After a string of low scores and being benched for Mumbai's last game, Jay Bista came back fighting with a swashbuckling hundred against Saurashtra on Saturday.

Jay Bista during his knock of 127 against Saurashtra on the opening day of the Ranji Trophy match.   -  VIVEK BENDRE

Eight innings, 165 runs, which included a solitary fifty and five single-digit scores. On the back of such a lacklustre run, it didn’t come as a surprise when Jay Bista, the aggressive opener, was dropped for Mumbai’s previous match against Baroda.

In fact, Bista’s place in the starting line-up was far from certain with hours remaining for its must-win match against table-topper Saurashtra on Saturday. But once presented with what the bespectacled-Bista himself later described as “one last chance”, the batsman grabbed it with both hands. His free-flowing 127 was the highlight of the opening day’s play here at the Wankhede Stadium.

No wonder Bista was a relieved man, enjoying a game of football with his team-mates at the end of day's play. “I was extremely fortunate to get another chance after what had been a miserable season. I would like to thank the selectors and the team for showing faith in me and giving me another chance,” Bista said.

“If I was the captain, I wouldn’t have given myself another chance after such a season, so I knew that this was the last chance for me and I am glad I could make it count.”

Undoing the changes

Bista had been undone primarily with short balls in the first half of the season. The batsman attributed it to a “change in technique mid-way through the season”. Once he was dropped last week, he worked with Vinod Raghavan, his personal coach, on undoing the changes.

“After the start of the season, I tried to make a minor change with my technique with regard to the grip. But somehow it didn’t work, so after being dropped from the last game, I went back to Raghavan sir. We worked on reverting to the basics and it worked,” he said.

That the knock came against table-toppers in challenging conditions also was satisfying for Bista. “There was talk that I couldn’t really score on greenish pitches, so I had a point to prove to myself that I can succeed in such conditions,” he said.

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