Sachin Tendulkar lauds Mumbai's excellent performance in Ranji final
Legendary Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar is mighty pleased with Mumbai's efforts in the final of the Ranji Trophy, which helped them clinch the title for a record 41st time.
In an interview with The Hindu post his former Ranji side's dominant victory, Tendulkar said, "It reminds me of the title we won against Saurashtra in 2012-13 at the Wankhede Stadium. It’s an excellent performance. Any team that gets to the final ought to have played good cricket. No team can reach the final by sheer luck. Saurashtra did play good cricket all the way.”
The Master Blaster, who had been following the match from his home, appreciated the team effort shown by the Mumbai side and was quick to point out some of the important contributors to the win.
“Overall, it’s a team effort. In the first innings, Dhawal (Kulkarni) was the key factor, with support from Ballu (Balwinder Singh Sandhu) and Shardul (Thakur). In the second innings, Shardul was superb and the others supported him. Obviously, Surya (Suryakumar Yadav), Shreyas Iyer, and Siddhesh Lad stood out in batting, and here I would like to add Ballu again. He was involved in a crucial partnership with Siddhesh (103 for the 10th wicket) and that shifted the momentum towards Mumbai.", Sachin was quoted saying.
Sachin seems to be quite impressed by the way his former team-mate Shardul Thakur has been bowling. Talking about Thakur's 8-wicket haul, he said, "“I have known Shardul for a long time now, for close to 10 years. I spotted the spark in him when I saw him for the first time. He was just playing junior cricket then. I would tell friends that this guy has got the potential. He has worked hard on his fitness to strengthen the muscles and body. He has the true potential to play higher class of cricket. I am happy that he’s been able to advance in his career and win matches."
Mumbai's latest batting sensation Shreyas Iyer is someone Tendulkar had just heard of, but did not see him play. However, the great man is quite pleased with what he saw of him in the Ranji final. "He is a player with tremendous potential and ability to hit the ball. It’s something special. That’s the way he likes to play; I don’t think he goes in with a mindset saying, ‘I am going to dominate the bowling’. He likes hitting the ball and that sort of transforms into dominating... he likes to attack the bowling.”, Sachin said of young Iyer.
The former Indian batsman also showered praise on 23-year old all-rounder Siddhesh Lad, who played an 88-run blinder for Mumbai in their only innings. Sachin explained how the T20 influence helped Lad by stating, "He’s batting differently because of T20, which has made all the batsmen have a different bat swing. Today, I watched him on television. He was dropped, and soon he shifted gears and went into an overdrive. Yes, he played some very good shots. It was Siddhesh Lad batting with a changed mindset."
The batting depth the Mumbai side has caught Tendulkar's eye and so has the talent in the bowling department. About the team composition, he said, "It’s really good. Mumbai has a group of youngsters and they have to play together for a while. We have talent and the spinners are also decent. It also depends on the kind of surface they play on. Sometimes, one gets a helpful track for spinners and sometimes a track for pacers."
The iconic cricketer was not too surprised with the lively pitch at the MCA Stadium in Pune. Speaking about it, Sachin quipped, "I knew the kind of wicket they (Mumbai) would get when I caught up with them before their departure to Pune. I told Shardul and Dhawal that they are going to get a very good track, and that they will enjoy bowling on it. There is also cross breeze at the Pune stadium, and on a wicket like that the ball tends to swing. I enjoyed what I saw (the final at Pune). It was a helpful wicket for seamers."
Sachin Tendulkar also harped on the need for competitive pitches in longer versions of the game. "If you are going to play a multiple-day match, then the wicket has to help the bowlers; be it for seamers or spinners. It cannot be a flat track on which anyway batters play differently in ODIs and T20. Both versions are dominated by batters. There has to be a version where the bowlers have to dominate, and someone who bats well will score runs, but it cannot be a flat track wherein the whole world is scoring 500 and 600 runs.", he pointed out.
In a final verdict of the new Ranji Trophy champions, Tendulkar said, "Mumbai is looking good as a team. But this is the time to press the pedal hard and prepare themselves better for the next season. When things are going well, that’s the time to work harder and execute all the plans. The vision has to be there."