Ranji trophy star packed mumbai determined to regain their stripes

Ranji trophy star packed mumbai determined to regain their stripes
A physio attending to India vice-captain and Mumbai batsman Ajinkya Rahane at the nets in Vadodara. (Express photo by Bhupender Rana)

Surya Kumar Yadav remembers that day last year when Mumbai selectors recalled him in Ranji Trophy squad for the last league game against Chattisgarh. Yadav had been dropped for three games when he was picked again in a must-win game. Mumbai had never look so vulnerable before. This year Yadav is the captain of the team and will have big names for company: Ajinkya Rahane, Shardul Thakur, and Prithvi Shaw. And Shreyas Iye and Shivam Dube too would be available.

Last season the team was without any star power and Mumbai mopped at the bottom of the table. However, lot has changed in past twelve months in Mumbai cricket. Yadav is back in its supreme form and has been handed over captaincy. Mumbai will be taking on Baroda in their first league encounter of the Ranji Trophy at the Reliance Stadium in Vadodara. Indian Test team’s vice captain Rahane will be playing the first three games and Shaw will look for new beginning post the doping violation. Yadav looks pleased with side he has got. He gets back the services of the bowlers Shardul Thakur and Tushar Deshpande though the spin department is pretty inexperienced.

“It feels very nice to see stability in the line-up, be it in the bowling or batting. We will like to carry our performance of Syed Mushtaq Ali and Vijay Hazare Trophy. What happened in the past, is past, I am hopeful this winter will be good. Rahane hasn’t told us how many games he will be here but having him in the team is good thing,” Yadav said. The Mumbai team has decided to release Sarfaraz Khan, who has been asked to play under-23 matches for Mumbai.

Winter pangs

With Ranji Trophy starting in December, the winter will throw some new challenges. The early morning wind and early sunset will leave its impact in the final session of the day. For Yadav, though, all that is in the periphery, his focus is to continue to mature and enjoy the challenges of captaincy.

“Of course, captaincy has changed me, I have become calmer. I feel before I was little bit excited and used to take decisions without thinking about it much. But things have changed now, maturity has helped me to think better,” he explains as few fans wait for selfies. Rahane is the first one to take catching at slips after he finished his batting nets.

Meanwhile, Shaw calls for white spray-paint to change the colour of his blue pads that he had used in the Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament. He will hope that his white ball form continues in red-ball cricket. He has far too much at stake: his reputation that was hit after the ban and the growing murmurs about his attitude.

In the recent past, he has spoken how he really wants this domestic season to be his turnaround season. At Vadodara, Mumbai is not only the one who have some white-ball heroes of IPL. Baroda will be led by Krunal Pandya  and as ever, much will ride on form of Yusuf Pathan, who had stood tall for Baroda over the years.