Ranji Trophy: I was focussed on bowling in the right areas, says Andhra's C. V. Stephen

The Andhra seamer says a three-quarter length on the off-stump channel was the ideal delivery to bowl in helpful conditions on day one.

File photo: Andhra's C. V. Stephen picked up his third four-wicket haul in first-class cricket on day one of the Ranji Trophy match against Rajasthan.

Andhra’s C. V. Stephen took his third four-wicket haul in first-class cricket at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium here on Day One of the Ranji Trophy against Rajasthan.

Persistent with his line and length, he flummoxed batsmen with his swing and pace. Mahipal Lomror, otherwise an able batsman, looked out of sorts against him in the 19th over of the day; he nearly nicked behind twice, and later in the over, edged a delivery to gully. He went on to get three more.

“There was good swing in my second spell in the morning; there was late swing. In my mind, I thought, every ball should be in the right area, that is, the three-quarter length, not exactly a good length. And outside the off-stump. The ball was moving both ways and also ‘cutting’ sometimes,” Stephen told Sportstar.

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However, it was only after the initial hour or so that the ball started to “fly” off the pitch. “The pitch was a little slow in the first session. After 10-15 overs, the ball was flying. There was also good swing. I was thinking, ‘I should put the ball in the right areas for five deliveries to put the batsman under pressure, and then I’ll definitely get the wicket,’” he said.

His fast-bowling counterpart K. V. Sasikanth also got four wickets. Sasikanth had dented Rajasthan early, dismissing the top three in the line-up, including Robin Bist for a duck. “Sasikanth did very well. He was swinging the ball well. I thought, I should put the ball in the same areas – the same line and length – so I can take wickets as well,” he said.

Stephen and Sasikanth didn’t have the same hold on batsmen in the second session. Asked why that was, Stephen said, “The ball got softer at that time, so the swing was less.”

Finally, how would he rate his own bowling on the day? “Five (out of five),” said Stephen, grinning.

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