As Mumbai starts its campaign versus Madhya Pradesh in the Vijay Hazare trophy here on Monday, it will look to do better than the past two seasons — qualify for the knockout stage — said its captain Aditya Tare after his team’s practice session on Sunday.
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“It is important to achieve something better. We did not qualify for the knockout stage in the last two years. So that’s our priority for now,” he reasoned.
He drew attention to the fact that there are four all-rounders in the Mumbai squad — Shivam Dubey, Aakash Parkar, Shashank Singh, and Shubham Ranjane — saying that in the shorter format it’s important to have players who play multiple roles.
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He added that the India U-19 World Cup winning captain Prithvi Shaw will join the squad as soon as he returns to India.
The young, inexperienced, and promising left-arm spinners — 21-year old Dhrumil Matkar, and 20-year old Shams Mulani — will be tested hard, he said.
“It’s a test for them; to play at the senior level, and bowl under pressure against better opposition in a format where as a bowler you are mostly under pressure. It will be a good learning experience for them,” added Tare.
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Mumbai last won the 2006-07 edition of the event. On why Mumbai hasn’t had a lot of success in the tournament, he said, “Yes, it hurts. But we spent a lot of effort in the Ranji trophy, where every alternate year or every two seasons, we do well and mostly win. We have to give equal attention to all (major domestic) tournaments. It’s not we take the other tournaments lightly, but a lot of energy is spent focussing on Ranji.”
He said that Mumbai will not take the competition as an opportunity to warm up before the IPL.
He reckoned that the experience of Abhishek Nayar (who’s not in the squad for the first time in many years) will be missed. The team, though, has an experienced hand in Dhawal Kulkarni.
Madhya Pradesh will bank on the experience of Naman Ojha; the team is led by Harpreet Singh.
The squads: Mumbai: Aditya Tare (captain); Dhawal Kulkarni; Suryakumar Yadav; Siddhesh Lad; Akhil Herwadkar; Jay Bista; Shivam Dube; Shashank Singh; Eknath Kerkar; Aakash Parkar; Dhrumil Matkar; Royston Dias; Shams Mulani; Shubham Ranjane; Shivam Malhotra; Prithvi Shaw
Madhya Pradesh: Harpreet Singh (captain); Ankit Sharma; Avesh Khan; Anand Bais; Puneet Datey; Sohraab Dhaliwal; Dharmesh Patel; Mihir Hirwani; Saransh Jain; Ankit Kushwah; Naman Ojha; Ishwar Pandey; Rajat Patidar; Rameez Khan; Ajay Rohera; Anshul Tripathi