Mumbai captain Aditya Tare: Time to focus on U-19 talent

For the second season in a row, Mumbai’s Ranji Trophy campaign ends in the league stage. Tare reflects on a poor season for his side.

Tare was buoyed by what he saw of fast bowler Royston Dias (in picture) this season.   -  Vivek Bendre

From losing his place in the side towards the end of the last season to ending the current season as the captain, Aditya Tare has had quite a ride. Despite his turnaround with the willow, it has been far from a smooth sailing. In fact, for the second time in a row, Mumbai will end its Ranji Trophy campaign at the end of the league stage.

Tare, the last Ranji-winning Mumbai captain, opened up to Sportstar after a disappointing draw against Saurashtra that shut the door on Mumbai’s season.

Excerpts from an interaction

Q. You were not leading the side but the successive losses at home pegged the team back, isn’t it?

A. We won our first game at Baroda and that was an exciting start. We wanted to have a result-oriented pitch against Railways. We had an experienced batting line-up for that game and we obviously wanted to force a result. It backfired. Unfortunately, we lost the game and then against Karnataka as well. When you lose two back-to-back games outright, that just puts you back in the points table. Had we won either one of those games, maybe we would have been still in the hunt and would have been a different story.

But obviously, we played poor cricket in those two games as a team. We batted poorly and we bowled poorly; it was an entire failure of the squad that sort of cost us those two games and the season.

Despite a dismal season, what are the gains of the season?

The two positives for me is the partnership between Shams [Mulani] and Shashank [Attarde] (sic). Shashank has emerged as an off-spinner, something that we missed for a long time. He has bowled well, batted well, fielded well as well. Shams has batted extremely well this season. Under pressure, he has delivered with the bat and has picked wickets as well. Both of them have come up as two good spin all-rounders, something that we had 10 years back when Ramesh Powar, Nilesh Kulkarni, [and] Sairaj Bahutule were consistent as spinning all-rounders. They love each other’s company. They revel in each other’s performance. I can see them talking to each other and I can see them talking to each other all the time. Their partnership is a big positive for the team, I feel.

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And obviously Royston [Dias] is an improved bowler. He is bowling fast, he is bowling in good areas, something that was lacking earlier but now he has come back as a better bowler.

The rebuilding phase has reaped little rewards for two seasons in a row now. What are the learnings for the team?

The learnings would be to just have a good core going into the next season; try and back players who are experienced in First-Class cricket; and pick young talent from the Under-19s, like we have Yashasvi [Jaiswal], [Atharva] Ankolekar and Divyaansh [Saxena] who are having a good World Cup.

Tare says captaincy helped him be back among the runs. - PTI

 

There are a few other U-19 cricketers like Varun Lavande and others who we have to look closely at, monitor their progress and if we can pick them immediately into the seniors, that’ll be great.

From being on the verge of being dropped again midway through the season, are you happy with your comeback with the bat?

Obviously I was disappointed since I was dropped from two formats last season, so I worked extremely hard on my batting during the off-season. I scored almost 800 runs combined in the two white-ball tournaments. I was among the highest run-scorers in India. I thought I made a decent comeback with the white-ball.

In red-ball, we started off on seam-friendly pitches and it didn’t go well. Obviously as a senior player, when you don’t perform in two or three games, there are going to be question marks raised because you expect a senior guy to deliver [in] each and every game or at least every other game. That didn’t happen in the first three games. But I felt, once I was the captain, that sort of took pressure off me because as a captain, you only look at the team and the results. That sort of extra responsibility makes you more focussed. I sort of enjoy that bit and [it] helped my game obviously and the last three-four games, I am really happy with my performance.

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