Mumbai may have missed out on an outright win against familiar foes Saurashtra in its opener last week. But the Mumbai camp, having dominated against the defending champion, isn’t a disappointed group ahead of entering into the unknown territory of facing Goa in the Ranji Trophy from Thursday.
Despite facing Goa for the first time, there will be a sense of familiarity in both camps. After all, two of the three professionals with Goa for this season - Eknath Kerkar and Shubham Ranjane - are Mumbaikars.
Having been deprived of consistent opportunities with Mumbai, the duo has switched over to the coastal neighbours. It will be keen on making a statement with strong performances with the willow against their former teammates. Similarly, Shrikant Wagh - the former Vidarbha speedster - will also be keen on delivering the goods with his new team against the domestic powerhouse.
“The fact that two of our three professionals are from Mumbai will be of big help. They will be handy not just in terms of batting but also with tactics,” Goa coach Bhaskar Pillai told Sportstar on Wednesday.
"I am just hoping that they, along with the experienced Shreekant, can lead the way and help other boys soak in the pressure of a big game.”
Playing at the same venue - the Narendra Modi Stadium main ground - for the second week in a row will work in Mumbai’s favour.
Had Mumbai dismissed Saurashtra's No. XI batter in the last hour and chased down a moderate target, it would have been sitting pretty in the race for the lone qualification spot from the group of four. But with Goa and Odisha also involved in a drawn game, the disappointment of losing out potentially four points was levelled.
With Prithvi Shaw at the helm and veteran Ajinkya Rahane in the group, the Mumbai camp is looking forward to making amends over the next four days.
The Mumbai think-tank’s decision to omit Yashasvi Jaiswal and Shivam Dube last week may have raised eyebrows. Opener Aakarshit Gomel is likely to get another game to justify the faith shown in him while it will be interesting to see if Mumbai tweaks the five-specialist-bowler policy to accommodate Dube.
The teams (from):
Mumbai: Prithvi Shaw (Capt.), Ajinkya Rahane, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Aakarshit Gomel, Arman Jaffer, Sarfaraz Khan, Sachin Yadav, Aditya Tare (w.k.), Hardik Tamore (w.k.), Shivam Dube, Aman Khan, Shams Mulani, Tanush Kotian, Prashant Solanki, Shashank Attarde, Dhawal Kulkarni, Mohit Awasthi, Prince Badiani, Siddharth Raut, Roystan Dias, Arjun Tendulkar.
Goa: Snehal Kauthankar (Capt.), Amogh Desai, Amulya Pandrekar, Sumiran Amonkar, Prathamesh Gawas, Aditya Kaushik, Darshan Misal, Amit Yadav, Felix Alemao, Lakshay Garg, Maliksab Sirur, Samar Dubhashi, Vijesh Prabhudesai, Suyash Prabhudesai, Shrikant Wagh, Shubham Tari, Heramb Parab, Shadab Khan, Shubham Ranjane, Eknath Kerkar (w.k.), Harshad Gadekar, Vishambar Kahlon.