Ranji Trophy: Mumbai wary of familiar opening conundrum

One of the biggest headaches for Mumbai ever since its last Ranji title in 2015-16 has been its top order.

Prithvi Shaw has been elevated into India’s squad in no time, thus leaving the Mumbai slot open.   -  Vivek Bendre (File Photo)

One of the biggest headaches for Mumbai ever since its last Ranji title in 2015-16 has been its top order. The lack of a reliable opening combination has continued to haunt Mumbai this season as well.

In the last five years, Akhil Herwadkar impressed for a couple of seasons and faded out even before he had a solid ally. In came Prithvi Shaw and the diminutive batsman has been elevated into India’s squad in no time, thus leaving the Mumbai slot open.

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Jay Bista has remained an intriguing case, having built a reputation of throwing his wicket away. While Bista has not been able to make it count, tallying just 176 runs in seven innings this season, Shaw’s India and India A call-ups have resulted in promising Bhupen Lalwani, having scored 650-plus runs in four C.K. Nayudu (U-23) Trophy games, being given an opportunity.

Opening partnerships this season
vs Baroda: Prithvi Shaw & Jay Bista, 74 & 190
vs Railways: Prithvi Shaw & Jay Bista, 18 & 35
vs Karnataka: Prithvi Shaw & Aditya Tare 4; Aditya Tare & Ajinkya Rahane 8
vs Tamil Nadu: Jay Bista & Bhupen Lalwani, 50
vs Uttar Pradesh: Jay Bista & Bhupen Lalwani, 6
vs Himachal Pradesh: Jay Bista & Bhupen Lalwani, 43

 

With just two league games remaining this season, captain Aditya Tare admitted the openers' slot remains a problem area. “We have been trying combinations but unfortunately it’s not working. We got Lalwani because he has scored heaps of runs in U-23 and we got Jay back because we needed experience at the top. We’ve been trying to work it out but it’s not been happening,” Tare told Sportstar ahead of its Group B tie against Saurashtra.

“We know it’s an area of concern but we have to be patient with that slot and try and give opportunities to players to get settled. That’s what our aim is. The onus is also on the players to grab the opportunity. Very rarely do you find that the opening slot is wide open for a few years and no one has put that claim. It’s up to to the players to try and make a strong case.”

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