Parthiv: 'We have grown up watching Mumbai cricket'

Gujarat skipper Parthiv Patel talks about his team's mindset ahead of a big final against Ranji Trophy powerhouse Mumbai and what it means for Gujarat cricket.

K. Murali Kumar

Parthiv Patel is ready to lead Gujarat to its first Ranji Trophy final in six and a half decades.

Gujarat's cricketers, especially its captain Parthiv Patel and coach Vijay Patel are not surprised that their team reached the Ranji Trophy final to challenge Mumbai. It's been six and a half decades since Gujarat last played the final. Almost every aspect of the game has changed ever since.

This Gujarat team has played to its strength and this is what Parthiv said after a work out at the Holkar Stadium on Monday.

"If you look at our team, we have played about 4-5 finals in in the shorter formats in the last 4-5 years. Yes it is a final, but as I said, the guys know the importance of the game and everyone is mature enough. They have been playing first-class cricket for almost six-seven years. There have been a few who have been a part of the IPL (Indian Premier League) as well. They know what pressure is all about. And we have played against the biggest teams in 6-7 years; whether it is against Viru (Sehwag) or other big players and teams.

"Pressure is something which depends upon an individual and a team atmosphere as well. We will be quite relaxed. We are not worried about the outcome. We have had a good practice session. Throughout the season, we have believed in the process and we are quite happy to go in to the final. Obviously, we are not going to treat it as a final. Since we got into the quarterfinal, we have just decided to play it as a normal game. There is no point of putting extra pressure of a final. We deservingly are here because we have played well."

What's mindset of a team playing Mumbai ?

"This is something very big for us. As cricketers, we have grown up watching Mumbai cricket in West Zone. We always look forward to compete against them and beat them. We have beaten them in one-day and T20 format, but in the Ranji Trophy in the recent past, only once we have got the lead. But as I said we have learned a lot from Mumbai cricket. A lot of guys have played Times Shield and club cricket; they go to Mumbai and learn a lot of things."

And finally what does reaching the final mean to Gujarat cricket?

"It is a big moment for all of us," he said, "We have worked really hard. There are people back home who know how much hard work we have put in, how much planning we do just to get qualified. But I am sure playing a Ranji final will encourage a lot of junior guys to step in and try and push because they know whenever they come into the Ranji team, they will be coming into a very strong side, so they will have to raise their standard as well. That will encourage a lot of youngsters to push themselves and become better players.’’