Playing his 100th first-class match and getting closer to his 400th wicket, 33-year-old Basant Mohanty looks back at his 13-year-old journey as a disciplined servant of Odisha cricket.
Basant, who began his career with India international Debasis Mohanty, has played with two generations of players and has been the most consistent performer for the Odisha team over a decade.
“It has been a fun-filled journey. My debut was against Bengal (in Siliguri) and my 100th match is against the same side.
“I started with Debu Bhai (Debasis) and learnt a lot from him. Now there are youngsters like Rajesh Mohanty, Debabrata Pradhan and Preet Chohan. I can’t be like Debu Bhai . If I can be 10 per cent like him, then it will be great,” Basant told Sportstar on the sidelines of the Odisha-Bengal Ranji Trophy quarterfinal match at the DRIEMS ground here.
“My debut was memorable – Odisha beat Bengal. For 11 years of my career, I played in Group A and B. We were relegated to Group C for two seasons. So helping the team to get back to Group B was special.”
Even in his 100th outing, Basant – who tallied 384 wickets before this match – picked up four wickets to help Odisha restrict to 332 in the first innings.
Basant reflected on his eventful career. “I was a quicker bowler to start with. I became a swing bowler after seeing Debu Bhai . I thought swing will give more me success. I had a hand injury in an accident. After that I slowed down.
“Debu Bhai , who used to stand at mid-on, always backed me. He used to give 15-17 runs and take two wickets in 20 overs and I used to take five wickets for 70 in 15 overs. He used to keep it tight and I used to reap the benefits. Now, I am trying to dry up the runs and let others take wickets.”
Basant, who once made it into the India-A limited-overs squad, had a regret though. “If I had got a chance in the four-day matches, I could have expressed myself better. Having said that, when you mature, you realize the mistakes you did. I could have worked more on my fitness.”
Basant is not finished yet. “I still enjoy the game. Let’s see how long I can continue like this,” he said.
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