Siddhesh Lad: ‘I am a big fan of Rohit Sharma’

The Mumbai middle-order batsman — whose 117 in the second innings against Odisha helped the visiting side beat the host in the Group C fixture of Ranji Trophy — talks about the challenges of batting down the order and how he gained confidence from his IPL stint.

Siddhesh Lad Mumbai Ranji Trophy

Siddhesh Lad scored a chanceless 117 runs against Odisha in a Ranji trophy encounter at Bhubaneswar.   -  Biswaranjan Rout

“Dad wanted me to be tougher, travel in crowded local trains and buses with my kit bag. It is a part of the education,” Siddhesh Lad — the son of renowned cricket coach Dinesh Lad — told Sportstar after his fifth first-class hundred helped Mumbai beat Odisha by 120 runs in the Group C Ranji Trophy fixture in Bhubaneswar on Saturday.

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Siddhesh went to Pravin Amre at an early age to study the game, instead of his father who is the mentor of India opener Rohit Sharma. The senior Lad didn’t want his son to taste convenience. He was pushed to lead the life of every Mumbai ‘maidan’ cricketer. “Amre sir was an India player, which was one of the factors to go to him too. He knows me since I was 11. My technique was natural and whatever little adjustments I had to make, both of them helped me, though dad remains my in-house coach,” said Siddhesh, who scored 117 at a crucial juncture of the match.

The 'crisis man'

When he came to bat, Mumbai was struggling at 77/4 while leading by 221 runs — which was not close to a competitive target. But Siddhesh is known as the ‘crisis man’ in Mumbai’s cricketing circles these days. The right-handed batsman, on many occasions, has bailed the team out from tricky situations and this innings was no different. “I enjoy carrying that tag. But I want to do better. People still say that I don’t do well even when the team performs. I am trying my best. I am somebody who likes to play for the team and not go for individual runs. I have learnt this from senior players like Abhishek Nayar and Aditya Tare,” he added.

Siddhesh is also willing to go up the order if told to. “If I am given a chance to bat up, I would love to do that. Maybe a No 3 or No 4. But we have players like Shreyas Iyer and Ajinkya Rahane in those spots. I also enjoy my current role (which, at times, also involves batting with the tail enders). Whenever I have gone out to bat, there has always been some situation or the other,” he said.

Though the fixture saw two hundreds, the other one by Prithvi Shaw in the first innings, Siddhesh felt the wicket at the Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology favoured the bowlers. “The bounce was uneven and some balls kept low. It was a challenge to bat on that wicket.”

Learning IPL curve

Being the son of Rohit’s coach is a pressure that Siddhesh needs to handle all through his career. But the 25-year-old laughs off comparisons. “I look up to Rohit. I am a big fan of his, and I know he is far better than me. I have spent a lot of time with him in the last few years and he keeps giving me inputs,” revealed Siddhesh, who is also a part of Indian Premier League franchise Mumbai Indians (MI), led by Rohit.

Sandwiched between international stars, the youngster is yet to appear in the playing XI but he believes the franchise is nurturing him. Game or no game, Siddhesh has been in its scheme of things. “There are regrets of not getting a game yet, but I learnt a lot of things from the MI bench. I saw how international players prepare for a game and observed their work ethics. MI gave me confidence. I always knew it was difficult to break into that star-studded XI, so I can’t really complain,” he reasoned.

Siddhesh also went to the same school that of Rohit — Swami Vivekanand International in Mumbai.