After a thoroughly fulfilling and successful outing against Baroda in its opening Ranji Trophy Elite Group match close to two weeks ago, Mumbai is all set for its first home match against Railways at the Wankhede Stadium from Wednesday.
Thanks to a spectacular show by Prithvi Shaw in both innings at the Reliance Stadium, skipper Suryakumar Yadav’s knock in the second innings and a splendid bowling effort by left arm spinner Shams Mulani — he took ten wickets in the match — Mumbai won six points to begin its campaign on a bright note. Mumbai posted 400 plus totals in both innings.
For the second match, the home team has been strengthened by the return of middle order batsman, Siddhesh Lad, who did not feature in the match against Baroda because of his wedding. The 41-time champion team has also brought in a bowling coach in Pradeep Sundaram, who was previously with the MCA Academy at the BKC facility.
All in all the Mumbai captain, Yadav, is pleased with winning start in the country’s premier first class tournament. After attending the customary meeting with the match officials, Yadav said: “The boys are very positive. They are doing well. We got a small break and regrouped a week back. Things are going pretty well.”
The Mumbai team will have the benefit of Ajinkya Rahane playing back to back matches for the first time in three seasons. While Rahane’s presence gives stability to the middle order, Mumbai will miss Shreyas Iyer and big hitter Shivam Dube as they have both been rested.
“Yes, the team will miss them. But at the same time, as I always say the show must go on. There are players who’re filing their place and taking up the challenge and responsibility. I hope we continue that,” said Yadav.
Mumbai, though, will have services of medium pacer Shardul Thakur, who was occupied with Indian team in the series against the West Indies.
Explaining the appointment of a bowling coach, Yadav said; “ I feel that he (Sundaram) will be an asset. The bowlers will get good tips from him. It helps the head coach (Vinayak Samant) too. It’s a good thing for the team and for the bowlers. When we started the season with the limited over tournaments Dhawal (Kulkarni) and Shardul (Thakur) were there. They have all played a decent level of cricket. However, his addition is a good thing for us. We’re happy to have the bowling coach."
Karn Sharna, who has returned to the Railways team after a two year gap, said that his team has some limitations. “But we are still doing well. We had one bad game (against Saurashtra), but we won't think about that. We will focus on our game against Mumbai. The wicket at the Wankhede is good."
- Rahane preparing for New Zealand in his own way -
Rahane, India's vice captain in Test cricket, said he is preparing for the upcoming two-Test series against New Zealand in his own way. He is also part of an India ‘A’ team.
Talking about his net sessions, he said: “I try to be in the zone I like to be in. I simulate match like situations and I don’t tell the bowlers to bowl in a particular way,” said Rahane.
The 31-year-old, who has played 63 Tests, is looking forward to the Test series in New Zealand. “We have not played a Test series there for nearly six years. It can be very windy,” said Rahane, who scored 118 in the first innings at Basin Reserve in February 2014.