Arpit Vasavada: ‘Pujara and I wanted to bat long, tire the bowlers’

Vasavada and Pujara batted for 297 minutes on day two of the Ranji Trophy final against Bengal at the SCA stadium in Khandheri.

Saurashtra batsman Arpit Vasavada celebrates after scoring a century during the Ranji Trophy final against Bengal in Rajkot on Tuesday.   -  Vijay Soneji

Scoring a hundred in a Ranji Trophy final is a dream for any domestic batsman. Saurashtra southpaw Arpit Vasavada is living it. At the SCA stadium in Khandheri on Tuesday, he brought up his fourth ton of the season, against Bengal, with Cheteshwar Pujara on the other side.

Amid murmurs of ‘poor pitch’ and ‘slow wicket’, the duo hatched a plan to take Saurashtra closer to its maiden Ranji title. “We wanted to play long; long enough to make them bowl more and more,” he said, adding: “The wicket was not that easy. Their bowlers were tired but we batted well. I don’t think it was very poor [as Bengal coach Arun Lal said] but this season, it has been a bit uncertain.”

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Vasavada batted up the order, at No. 4, as Pujara was not in the pink of health on day one. Suffering from a jet lag, along with throat infection and fever, he retired hurt after playing 24 balls. He returned the next morning to play 213 balls more to score 66.

“It was in my mind that he will play down the order and I should help him as much as I can. No matter how much I would have scored, fifty or 100, I just wanted to play with him,” said Vasavada, who batted at No. 7 in the semifinal against Gujarat, scoring a match-winning 139 in the second innings. The hundreds against Railways and Tamil Nadu came at the No. 5 position.

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“The idea was to stay on the wicket. If you don’t throw away your wicket, runs will automatically come. If Pujara is there, he only holds. He keeps telling me what to do. When he is around, you get that confidence,” he added.

Vasavada’s only target now is to ensure the title win for his state. “There will be pressure to chase if we score some more runs. The semifinal hundred was special because we were five down for 15 and in the end, we won the game. This will be equally special if we win the title.”

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