Aditya Tare hopes Mumbai cashes in on Vijay Hazare Trophy triumph

Aditya Tare had no hesitation in admitting the handy knock with the bat in the Hazare final will hold him in good stead for the rest of the season.

Tare was delighted to see the Mumbai team dominate.   -  Sudhakara Jain

He took over Mumbai's captaincy in the middle of a turbulent 2014-15 Ranji Trophy campaign. After getting a team that was in disarray to play as a unit, Aditya Tare led Mumbai to its 41st Ranji Trophy title the following season. However, a combination of two trophy-less seasons and a mediocre run with the willow meant Tare was replaced as captain at the start of the ongoing season.

The wicketkeeper-batsman contributed handsomely in Mumbai's triumphant Vijay Hazare Trophy, the domestic 50-over-a-side competition, with a stellar innings in the final against arch-rival Delhi. Tare spoke with Sportstar ahead of the domestic giant's opening Ranji Trophy game, to be played versus Railways in New Delhi from Thursday.

Excerpts:

How crucial was it to start the season on a winning note both for the team and yourself?

It was pretty encouraging to see the team performed throughout the tournament. We sort of dominated and that's what we aim to play like. We're very happy that we could achieve it in this tournament, especially because this format, we have struggled as a team for the past few years. To win a trophy after a gap of 12 years speaks a lot about how we have fared in white-ball cricket. The way we played was very pleasing to me.

Talking about myself, the batting line-up was so strong that in the first half of the tournament, me and (Siddhesh) Lad never got batting. We were limited with the opportunities because the team was doing really well – the top-order was performing consistently and the bowlers were also doing a great job. We were either bowling the oppositions out cheaply or when we batted first, the top four played most of the innings, so I had to wait for my chance.

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How have the first few weeks of not being a captain after a long time been?

It's pretty fine. I have always loved playing for Mumbai irrespective of whether I am leading the side or not. I've enjoyed my cricket with this team and it's still the same. There's not much difference, I feel. The only thing is perhaps I have got fewer things to worry about, except for my batting and 'keeping. Things that I used to look after are not my priority at the moment. Pretty happy with that as well. It's a great team to be part of. Every time you step on to the field – whether as captain or not doesn't really matter – I love playing for Mumbai and it will remain the same. The only change is there's lesser responsibility at the moment since as a captain you have a lot of other things to think about or take care of.

Has that sort of relaxed you a bit?

Not much as such. I am happy that the team is doing well. I am proud of the way the boys have played. It's quite pleasing to see. Not just with the fact that when guys like Ajinkya and Shreyas and Shaw are available for almost the whole tournament, but when the bowling is coming off so well, it becomes a different team. Barring Dhawal (Kulkarni), all the bowlers are pretty young and they have fared really well. Those were the players who played under me for the past few years and to see them doing well is pleasing to see.

Talking about the pacers, Tushar Deshpande and Royston Dias have sort of struggled to keep fit and going through the entire season. How much will the Vijay Hazare Trophy help them in this regard?

We usually play this tournament after the Ranji Trophy when the bowlers are pretty tired. Now, when we played it at the start of the year, our bowlers were pretty fresh, that was one advantage – not just for our team but all the teams as well. Now, the challenge for us as a team, especially the bowling unit, is to sustain this sort of a performance throughout the Ranji season. At the end of the day, we are very happy with the Vijay Hazare Trophy title, but our eyes are on and our aim is to win the 42nd Ranji title for Mumbai. For that, we have to sustain that sort of performance and intensity for the next three months. That's a big challenge we will be facing for the season.

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The last couple of seasons have been far from pleasing for you as a batsman. How important was the knock in the final from that perspective?

Personally, I feel I had a slack year last season. I am pretty happy with how it's started. You always want to be a part of a champion side and you always want to contribute handsomely in that, so glad about the contribution I made in the final. To bag a Man of the Match in the final was special because to end up staying for long in the Mumbai side, you are always recognised for your contribution in big games. I am glad I could achieve it at the start of the season.

Early days, but how has it been so far with yet another new coaching set-up?

It's quite new for us, it's new for them as well. It's the first time for any senior team for [head coach] Vinayak (Samant) in his new coaching career, so it's something new for him. At the moment, we are pretty used to having new coaches. We have had a lot of coaches coming in and taking care of the Ranji team. So, the experienced boys are pretty used to that factor. Still, as you said, early days, but it will be a good experience for us throughout the Ranji season. It'll be a learning curve for everyone, but at the moment, it's a happy unit and hope to continue in the same vein for the rest of the season.