Malolan predicts Uttarakhand's Ranji promotion

Ahead of the Ranji Trophy quarterfinal clash against Vidarbha, Uttarakhand guest player Malolan Rangarajan says his new side can compete in Group C in a couple of years.

Malolan feels Uttarakhand was quick to develop into a strong unit in the Ranji Trophy.   -  FILE PHOTO/B. JOTHI RAMALINGAM

 

Bihar, which had walked into the Vijay Hazare Trophy quarterfinal from the newly formed Plate group, unscathed, in October last year, went down in a heap against a mighty Mumbai.

Three months on, Uttarakhand, faces a similar scenario. Undefeated in the Ranji Trophy group stages, the team has made it to the quarterfinals, but the path ahead will be thorny.

On Tuesday, when it faces defending champion Vidarbha in Nagpur, it will be a different ball game, believes all-rounder Malolan Rangarajan, who was drafted into the Uttarakhand squad as one of the three guest players (the other two being, Rajat Bhatia and Vineet Saxena) in August last year.

Speaking to Sportstar after a training session, he said, “It will be difficult for sure. But the good thing about our team is that the local boys are very talented.

READ| Missing Rajat Bhatia a big blow, says Saxena

“The side is not like the north-eastern states, which are new to red ball cricket or competitive fixtures. These boys have been playing in leagues in Delhi and Calcutta. Having said that, I am hopeful we will put up a better show in the quarters than what Bihar did [in the Vijay Hazare quarterfinals].”

Bhatia, who will be travelling to Hawaii to pursue a course on human bio-mechanics, is out of the milestone fixture, which makes Uttarakhand's task daunting against the defender in its backyard. He has amassed 700 runs in nine innings this season and is the highest run-scorer for the team.

READ| Ranji Trophy: Pujara back for Saurashtra in quarters

"He was in sublime touch and if my memory serves me right, his record in the knockouts are phenomenal," said the 29-year-old, who moved to the hilly state from Tamil Nadu.

"He's been excellent for the youngsters. We will certainly miss him and put our best foot forward to play well and win this game for him. He should be back if we qualify for the semis."

ALSO READ| The Bihar boy who broke Bedi’s record

He said Uttarakhand would not tinker too much with the game plan, which has served it well so far.

"It is Vidarbha and we are playing them in their home. There is not much we can do in four or five-day gaps (between matches). We will stick to our plans and see how the game moves along. We won't look to do anything different."

Malolan feels his new side was quick to develop into a strong unit. "When I moved here, honestly, I didn't imagine Uttarakhand to be this good a side. I can tell you that this team can compete in Group C in a couple of years when these boys have enough experience.

"I am pretty sure they can compete in Group A and B as well. All they need is a little confidence and experience."

Malolan lauded the BCCI for asking host associations to create a buzz around Ranji Trophy through the local media and hoardings. "No matter how much fun we have in watching three hours of IPL, the real test is in the longer format, considering the amount of skill and patience that is required.

"Nowadays, parents take their kids to coaching centres and say, 'Mere bete ko IPL khelna hai' (my son wants to play in the IPL)'. This needs to change and the longer format needs to be promoted."

Support Sportstar


Dear Reader,

Support our journalism — where text and pictures intermingle so seamlessly — and help us scale up your experience as the world changes around us. Your contribution is vital to our brand of uninfluenced, boots-on-the-ground reportage that’s worth your while. Clickbait sensationalism is not for us, but editorial independence is — we owe it to you.

Read the Free eBook

  Dugout videos