Ranji Trophy: Gujarat is a strong batting side, says Kerala coach Whatmore

Gujarat coach Sairaj Bahutule is confident of good show as there are no injury worries and skipper Parthiv Patel is back from injury.

Kerala coach Dav Whatmore, with skipper Sachin Baby, at a training session.   -  FILE PHOTO/ AKHILESH KUMAR


Kerala coach Dav Whatmore is confident that his team can put aside the horror of their last Ranji Trophy match, against Bengal, as they start the away leg against Gujarat on Wednesday.

Some reckless shots from the batsmen had cost the team dear. “It was those 30 naughty overs that made us lose,” the World-Cup winning coach from Australia told Sportstar at the Lalbhai Contractor Stadium here on Tuesday, on the eve of the match against Gujarat. “You can’t win a game in a session, but you can go a long way towards losing one.”

Whatmore, however, is glad to look back at Kerala’s last match against Gujarat. It had won the quarterfinal in the last edition of the Ranji Trophy convincingly at Krishnagiri (Wayanad).

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“It feels nice to remember those 20 wickets we took then,” he said. “The wicket was different then. The venue was different then. It was an important game. And so is this one.”

He rates Gujarat highly. “They are a very strong batting side,” he said. “It would be a good match. And it feels nice to play an away match.”

Looking back at Kerala’s two home matches thus far, he said he was proud of the way the boys played against Delhi, though the game was drawn after enforcing the follow-on. “The conditions were tough,” he said. “And Delhi is a good side.”

Whatmore’s counterpart Sairaj Bahutule is placed in a more comfortable situation. Gujarat has won the only game it has played in the tournament.

“It was good that we could start our campaign with a victory, that too against a strong Hyderabad side,” the former India leg-spinner said. “Kerala also is a very strong side.”

He said the team was charged up for the first home game of the season. “Everyone is in good shape, we don’t have any injury worries at all,” he said. “I am also glad that we could come up with an all-round show against Hyderabad.”

Besides the three seamers, who bowled Gujarat to victory, there were solid efforts with the bat from the mighty consistent opener Priyank Panchal, Bhargav Merai, Manprit Juneja and Rujul Bhatt. “The return of skipper Parthiv Patel, after his injury, has made our batting even stronger for this match,” Bahutule said.

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