Ranji Trophy 2019-20: Arzan Nagwaswalla reaps rewards for the hard yards

After breaking into the Gujarat side in the 2018-19 season, Arzan Nagwaswalla shot to fame with a five-wicket haul against Mumbai at the Wankhede Stadium.

Arzan Nagwaswalla prepares to bowl in the nets ahead of Gujarat's semifinal clash against Saurashtra.   -  Vijay Soneji

Arzan Nagwaswalla doesn’t talk much. The 22-year-old left-arm medium pacer, rather lets the red cherry do the talking.

That’s how it has always been for him.

After breaking into the Gujarat side in the 2018-19 season, Nagwaswalla shot to fame with a five-wicket haul against Mumbai at the Wankhede Stadium. Even though the cricketing fraternity took note of his performance, the youngster was largely inconsistent.

But this time around, he has taken things in his stride and pushed hard to achieve success. And that’s evident from the fact that he has already scalped 37 wickets in the Ranji Trophy so far.

“It was all about the mental aspect. This season, I am more mentally sorted and disciplined,” he said on Saturday after taking three wickets to restrict Saurashtra to 217-5 on the first day of the Ranji Trophy semifinal.

Ranji Trophy semifinal: Nagwaswalla strikes put Gujarat on top

On a flat deck, Gujarat captain Parthiv Patel won the toss and opted to field -- a decision that initially raised a few eyebrows. But the youngster ensured that his team ended the day on a happier note. “There was a time when we needed wickets and I got the breakthrough, so mentally you need to be ready and bowl with discipline. That’s something I have been able to do this season,” Nagwaswalla said.

He agrees that with a bit of bounce and carry, it was a bit difficult to get breakthroughs against Saurashtra, but there was always a Plan B. “It was a bit difficult, but we practice for these kind of pitches. As a bowler, we know our roles and what length and line we need to follow. The maximum time you hit the length, you succeed,” he said.

“The plan was to maintain a good line and bowl around the fourth-fifth stump. There was bounce and we needed to put in some effort. More the effort, more the ball moved nicely,” he said, revealing the plan which helped Gujarat fight back.

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The youngest member of a Parsi community in the village of Nargal, Nagwaswalla picked the basics of the game from his elder brother, Vispi, at an early age. And over the years, he has only bettered his form.

By his own admission, he was a bit jittery in the last season -- his first in domestic circuit. But over the months, things have eased out. “Had it been last season, I would have perhaps pitched a couple of deliveries outside the line, or there would have been a few here and there,” he said, admitting that he did work on a few areas in the off-season.

“Last year, there were some small errors in the run-up or the release point. This time, I have worked on those areas. I am more consistent. I have played 15-16 matches already and I am no more a newcomer. So, I want to live up to the expectations.”

When he stepped into the big league, Nagwaswalla would feel the pressure every time a match would be telecast live. That would add to the pressure. But no more.

“You don’t realise whether you are on TV or not. Pehle pehle tension hota tha, ab hota nahi hai…” he said with a smile.

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