Siddhesh Lad engineers rescue act again

The 26-year-old lives up to his title of ‘crisis man’ in his knock of 88 for India Red in the Duleep Trophy on Friday.

File Photo: Siddhesh Lad came to the rescue of India Red after it had lost two quick wickets.   -  Prashant Nakwe

He averaged 59.27 in the Ranji Trophy and performed even better in the Vijay Hazare Trophy with three tons at an average of 62.16. The knocks he played came under pressure when the team needed the most. He quickly earned the title of ‘crisis man’ for Mumbai, a badge of honour not easily given away in the mightiest team in Indian domestic cricket.

The 26-year old Siddhesh Lad once again lived up to the billing with his fluent 88 for India Red in the first innings when the team had just lost two quick wickets in the Duleep Trophy here. But the chance to play here itself came at the very last minute and in rather tough circumstances. He was sent away from the India ‘A’ squad which was participating in the quadrangular series — it was his maiden stint with the team without playing a match.

Read: Rayudu, Siraj set up easy win for India A

But the Mumbai youngster quickly got over the disappointment and was more than pleased that Rahul Dravid personally explained why he was sent here at the last minute. Speaking after the first day’s play, Lad said, “I obviously wanted to play for India A. It was my first time sharing a dressing room in India A and I was very excited to play. But unfortunately, because of rain, it was not possible to give chances to everyone in the remaining few matches. I am happy with the decision that Rahul sir wanted me to play here than just sitting out.”

Shifting gears

The most impressive thing about Lad has been his ability to adapt to formats easily and even switch gears within a match.

On Thursday, he took a few calculated chances early on against the spinner Akshay Wakhare, who was getting the ball to turn a bit. He hit two sixes, which he said was to get the field pushed back and then just work the singles.

Explaining the secret to his adaptability, Lad credits the time spent with Mumbai Indians even though he has not played a game in the Indian Premier League (IPL). “I haven’t played a game, but sharing a dressing room with the likes of Rohit Sharma has helped a lot. I have understood how they prepare and imbibed from that.”

On Friday, Lad showed why he is seen as a valuable player by Dravid for future A tours, and this knock might just be a blessing in disguise.

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