The formidable rivalry between Mumbai and Tamil Nadu will once again make for an exciting contest when the two teams square off in a Ranji Trophy Elite Group B fixture at the Brabourne Stadium on Tuesday.
With the home advantage, Mumbai, which will be without the services of Suryakumar Yadav, hopes to put its campaign back on track after its defeat against Saurashtra in the last outing.
The Mumbai team management is likely to bring back Armaan Jaffer in place of Suryakumar, to bolster the batting department, which also features some prominent names in captain Ajinkya Rahane, Prithvi Shaw, Sarfaraz Khan and Yashasvi Jaiswal.
Out of India reckoning, Rahane has had a decent campaign so far, hammering a double-century against Hyderabad, before scoring just 24 and 16 in the previous game.
Ahead of the crucial fixture, the Mumbai captain believes that there is no ‘self doubt’ in the side following the Saurashtra debacle and stresses on the fact that “attitude on the field matters the most irrespective of whether you win or lose”.
On a surface with quite a bit of grass, Mumbai is expected to do away with its three-spinner strategy and play an extra seamer to make the most of the conditions.
While the home team leads the table with 13 points from three games, Tamil Nadu comes into the game struggling in sixth position with just six points. But captain Baba Indrajith is not too bothered about being the ‘underdogs’ and wants to play a certain brand of cricket against Mumbai, which he believes is ‘one of the best batting sides in the domestic circuit’.
With Washington Sundar unavailable, Tamil Nadu has included Shahrukh Khan in the squad and the young captain insists that the team has no plans to play safe cricket.
“It is a very crucial game. I know we are sitting slightly at the bottom of the table, whereas some of the teams have got outright wins. Somewhere we were a bit unlucky, but we have to wait for the right time,” Indrajith said.
“I don’t want the boys to feel the pressure or push for an outright win right from day one. The game does not work like that. The first two days are important and then, if there’s a situation where we can build on a lead, we can look at an outright win…”
So far in the tournament, Tamil Nadu’s batting department has revolved around Indrajith, his brother Aparajith and N. Jagadeesan, and going forward, the captain and the team management is confident that the others will step up as well. R. Sai Kishore and Sandeep Warrier have spearheaded the bowling department and ahead of the big game, the visiting team wants to make sure it executes its plans well.
After braving the Delhi cold with woollen skull caps in its last game, Tamil Nadu players are happy to be back in a sunny but pleasant Mumbai, which according to Indrajith, “feels like home”. And over the next four days, he will be banking on the homely conditions to turn the tide!
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