"Selection is not in my hands. Going there and performing is only thing I can do," says Faiz Fazal
"If the leader is filled with high ambition and if he pursues his aims with audacity and strength of will, he will reach them in spite of all obstacles", Carl Von Clausewitz's quote perfectly implies to Vidarbha skipper Faiz Fazal.
Ten months ago, Faiz Fazal was Vidarbha's skipper who was leading his side in the Ranji Trophy. As the clock struck twelve o'clock on January 1, a leader emerged from the shadows. On the day, Faiz Fazal led Vidarbha to a Ranji Trophy victory, nine months later, Fazal has a Ranji Trophy, Irani Cup and Duleep Trophy in his cabinet.
In an exclusive chat to Sportskeeda, Fazal spoke his heart out, he talked about Vidarbha's Ranji Trophy triumph, his short international stint, the selection dilemma and his positive approach. He also spoke about the difference in the Ranji Trophy and Duleep Trophy victory.
"Ranji Trophy, you play for your state, emotionally you are much more connected when you are playing for the state. The Duleep Trophy is a very big achievement for the team but ultimately what happens is that we meet two days before the match and just play three matches. Winning is always good, it’s brilliant that we won the tournament but winning the Ranji Trophy was something else".
With three titles to his name, Faiz has been a successful captain, he speaks of his ingredients to be a successful captain, "Strategies and tactics are behind going into the field, we discuss a lot, we watch the videos and everything about the opponents and then we plan, definitely, we plan a lot. It’s all done before the game. Cricket is a very funny game and anything can happen on the field".
"On the field, I talk to my boys a little bit, that’s needed, the encouragement part is very important. That’s what you need when you need to win the game. You’ve to talk to them when they are out of form, there are 16 of us who can win the game. In the tournament, everyone should be motivated and really positive. There should be no negative vibes in the dressing room, a rotten apple can spoil the whole box. That’s what we don’t want"
Before the Ranji Trophy final, Faiz didn't do a lot of talking as he wanted his side to do the talking on the field, "I didn’t speak much, we had the toughest game of the season in the semi-final against Karnataka. As a whole unit, we were on a high and we were really looking towards the final. Every individual was focused and geared up. We were confident to go out there and express ourselves".
Faiz represented India in one ODI against Zimbabwe in 2016, he scored an unbeaten 55 in the game but he was never picked to represent India again. "The aim is to play for the country again, It’s(selection) not in my hands, going there and expressing myself and performing, that’s the only thing I can do. I’ve got the bat in my hands and I’ve to go and just score runs", Faiz said while speaking about his selection.
"Disappointment will always be there but there’s a difference between disappointment and discouraged. I am not discouraged in any way, I am disappointed, definitely, but I think very positively. I’ll just go and perform again. That’s what I’ve been taught since a young age, my father is my coach and he always speaks to me, the same thing again and again, just don’t worry".
"He(my father) used to play a bit of cricket. He was an opening batsman as well. He saw that I can go on and perform. He worked really hard for me. Words can’t express those feelings. He always keeps telling me that don’t worry about the selection, don’t worry about the performances just go there and bat well", the opening batsman said while talking about his father.
The 33-year-old also talked about the difference between the pink ball and the red ball, "It’s definitely a little different. For a batsman, It’s alright to be very honest. It doesn’t swing much. For fast bowlers, it’s a tough job to bowl, especially in India. The ball can definitely be improved. Right now I don’t think that it will be a very good idea to conduct D/N tests with this ball. It will be a very tough job for the bowlers"
Vidarbha entered the 2017-18 Ranji Trophy as the underdog side and winning the tournament was a dream come true moment for them. Faiz believes that their team bonding is great, "We’ve got a WhatsApp group as well, we are always in touch I always know what the team is doing. We all have worked very hard, all the players have worked really hard this season".
In the off-season, the Vidarbha boys were practising and working hard. Faiz was playing premier league cricket in the United Kingdom during the phase."In the off-season I was in the UK, going there and playing matches in tough conditions improves my batting. The weather really supports for training, in Nagpur the temperatures were really extreme. Now, I feel at this point in my career I’ve to be really fit and strong".
Faiz has maintained his fitness throughout the years, he feels that he should work on his fitness in this age. "I am in the best shape right now. I’ve been training really hard. I need to perform again in the domestic circuit and wait for my chances". The opening batsman is clearly focused on his fitness, at this point in time, he needs to be at his physical best to achieve his goals.
Speaking about the upcoming season he said, "the performance should continue. I mean we can’t assure that we’ll go and win every game, but we can definitely assure that we will put 100% effort on the field. You know in cricket, there are a lot of factors, it can happen that the opponents are playing better than us even if we are playing at our 100%, their 100% can be a little better than our 100%".
"Anything can happen. Luck also goes around the game. I believe in luck a little bit, luck favours the brave and luck favours those who work really hard. If you sit at home, do nothing, watch TV, eat popcorn then I don’t think that luck will favour much. If human works really hard he will get the rewards".
Faiz's approach to his career is fascinating. His positive approach is commendable and his never say die spirit is the need of the hour in this era of fast-paced cricket. He defines the role of a leader in the most prodigious way and that is evident from the results that he has produced over the last few months.