Gohil gives glimpse of his talent en route maiden fifer

In the first three Ranji Trophy games, despite the wickets barely assisting spinners, Vijay Gohil had impressed with his ability to keep the batsmen in check. At the Gangotri Glades Cricket Stadium here, the moment he got a deck that would bring the spinners in, he seized the opportunity.

Vijay Gohil Mysuru Mumbai Railways Ranji Trophy

Mumbai's left-am spinner Vijay Gohil picked his first five-wicket haul in first-class cricket during the Ranji Trophy match aganist Railways, in Mysuru on Monday.   -  M.A. Sriram

He is young. He bowls with a clean and classical action. And he is consistently accurate. Welcome to the world of Vijay Gohil, the left-arm spinner unearthed by Mumbai selectors ahead of the season. The 21-year-old left-arm spinner made Monday a memorable day for himself by earning his maiden first-class five-wicket haul during Mumbai’s Ranji Trophy Group A tie against Railways.

>Match Report

That the fifer came at the same venue where he took a giant stride towards staking a claim for Ranji Trophy, with a five-wicket haul against Gujarat during the pre-season KSCA Dr. (Capt) K. Thimmappiah memorial tournament in July has made it all the more special for Gohil.

“It’s a very good feeling to get five wickets for the team. The wicket was also helping spinners, so I was just thinking of sticking to the line and length,” Gohil said.

Unlike the recent trend of cricketers coming through the age-group sides into the first-class scene, Gohil has earned a name for himself by rolling his arm in the maidans of Mumbai. After featuring for Mumbai Under-19s for a couple of games in the 2013-14 season, the lanky spinner had been sidelined when it came to inter-state tournaments.

However, rich rewards in the maidans and a clean action – something that has been rare for Mumbai spinners of late – forced the selectors to take notice ahead of the season.

It wasn’t surprising to see him being preferred over Vishal Dabholkar, the senior spinner whose action had been under scrutiny last season, at the start of the season. Still, Gohil admitted that he entered the season under pressure. “It is a confidence-booster that you are being preferred over a senior, but it also adds to the pressure,” he said. “When a junior is elevated ahead of a senior, there are a lot of expectations from the junior. But rather than thinking about the expectation, I am just trying to keep things as simple as I can. Vishal has been of great help anyway. He constantly keeps throwing ideas and helps me in being a better bowler.”

In the first three games, despite the wickets barely assisting spinners, he had impressed with his ability to keep the batsmen in check. At the Gangotri Glades Cricket Stadium here, the moment he got a deck that would bring the spinners in, he seized the opportunity. Not only did he hurry the Railways batsmen with his unpredictable trajectory, he also didn’t hesitate in throwing the ball up, especially to the tailenders, which eventually helped him complete a deserving fifer.

Ever since Ramesh Powar began his downslide before eventually moving to Rajasthan, Mumbai has been struggling to find a reliable lead spinner. Early days still, but in the four matches he has played so far, Gohil has indicated that he has the ingredients to fill the void.