Gurbani's focus shifts to Ranji Trophy after New Zealand sojourn

Bowling in the cool confines of New Zealand has taught Rajneesh Gurbani how to take things in his stride and he hopes to use that experience in the Ranji Trophy.

Vidarbha received a major boost ahead of its tie against Railways with the return of Rajneesh Gurbani.   -  B. Jothi Ramalingam

Last season, Rajneesh Gurbani was one of the major finds of the Ranji Trophy. The lanky pacer from Vidarbha went on to become the hero of the tournament as he guided his team to its first-ever title.

But this year, the 25-year-old hasn’t featured in a single Ranji Trophy fixture so far as he was playing for India A in New Zealand.

But from Friday, he will feature in the domestic tournament when Vidarbha takes on Railways in New Delhi in a crucial clash of the tournament.

READ: Ranji Trophy 2018-19: Karnataka keen to get back on track

And a confident Gurbani is ready for the challenge. Bowling in the cool confines of New Zealand has taught him how to take things in his stride and he hopes to use that experience in the Ranji Trophy.

“I played a couple of matches in New Zealand and it was a very good experience for me. The wickets were a bit different there, but there were plenty of chances,” Gurbani told Sportstar.

By his own admission, the wickets in New Zealand offered more bounce. But even then, he managed to scalp three wickets from two four-day games, with best figures of 2-60 in Hamilton.

“The New Zealand batsmen know how to leave the ball in those conditions, so it was challenging to bowl stump to stump, and that is something I learned on the tour,” he said.

“It was challenging for a bowler for sure, but once you understood the wickets, you could realise how to go about it. Over all, I got to learn a lot of things,” the youngster said.

During the tour, he also got a tip or two from coach Rahul Dravid and Gurbani sounded quite excited as he spoke about ‘Rahul Sir’.

“Every time you would turn back, you would find him (Dravid) standing behind. He is always there to help us out and that’s a great thing for us,” Gurbani said.

“He advised me a bit about action and how to succeed in the New Zealand conditions. Those unique tips invariably helped,” he added.

From New Zealand to Dr Karnail Singh Stadium in New Delhi — Gurbani is gearing up for the shift and he is happy to be back to where he belongs.

“Playing Ranji Trophy is always a big thing and I am confident of doing well here (in Delhi). Hopefully, things will go well,” he said.

Vidarbha captain, Faiz Fazal, is also looking forward to Gurbani’s return. Confident that the pacer’s comeback would strengthen the side’s bowling attack, Fazal said, “He has been bowling very well and now that he is back, the bowling department will be stronger. There will be expectations from him but we have ensured that there is no added pressure on him,” the captain said.

Placed in Elite Group A, the defending champion has 12 points from four games so far, while Railways has collected seven from four outings.

With its strike bowler back, Vidarbha will be hoping to make it count in the cool confines of the national capital.