Cricketers of both home team, Jammu and Kashmir and visitors, Tripura expressed gratification over playing at Sher-I-Kashmir Stadium, Srinagar as Ranji Trophy cricket made a return to J&K after three years.
The much-awaited home return for J&K cricket team came to an end on Tuesday as the Group C team played Tripura at Sher-I-Kashmir Stadium, Srinagar, in their third Ranji Trophy match of this season. The hosts are in a commanding position at end of day three with Tripura still trailing by 85 runs in second innings.
Amid the freezing Kashmir weather, teams seem to be enjoying the serene and 'electrifying' crowd of Kashmir,
"We are not used to play in these type of highly cool conditions. Though, there is no denying that we enjoyed playing here," Tripura captain, Bishal Ghosh told Sportskeeda after Day 3's play.
Tripura, after opting to bat first was bundled out on just 124 runs in the first innings while J&K replied strongly, posting mammoth 442 runs. After conceding the lead, the invitees are four down on 233 in the second innings, largely due to an unbeaten knock of 71 runs of the wicketkeeper-batsman, Smit Patel.
"After getting out early in first innings, I came with a strong mindset in second innings and thankfully made some 70 runs. However, it was not easy to play in these harsh weather conditions," 2012 India U-19 World Cup winning player said.
Mumbai-based professional playing for Tripura, Harmeet Singh, who scalped a fifer in the match earlier, was all praise for the crowd in Kashmir,
"I haven't seen such a huge and active crowd in a Ranji Trophy match before. I loved playing in Srinagar," Harmeet said.
Former Rajasthan Royals cricketer was wearing a traditional Kashmiri robe, called "Pheran", commenting on it, he said,
"Ah! I was feeling so cold from the day first and tried multiple things to get rid of this chilly weather. But, thanks to Umar(Umar Nazir) ,who borrowed me his "Pheran. This thing is so warming," he added.
A good number of people had come to witness the match at Srinagar and it acted as a booster for players of both the teams,
"It was good to see many people coming here to watch us play. I really had a good outing," Bishal Ghosh said.
While, Smit Patel called Kashmir people, one of the 'most gentle crowd',
"People here cheered equally for both the teams. Whenever there was a good shot or an interesting piece of fielding, crowd appreciated for our team as well despite having their own team playing from the other side," Patel said.
Apart from Tripura, home team players liked playing here the most. Ahmad Banday who scored a fabulous knock of 136 runs quoted his feelings this way,
"There is nothing like scoring a hundred in your own den and in front your family, friends and home crowd. I hope, we will get a big victory," Hero of the match so far, Ahmad Banday said.
Senior cricketer and batsman, Ian Chauhan Singh wished to get a bonus point from the game,
"We are aiming to get seven points out of this game to make a shift in the points table. Bowling out Tripura on 124 runs in the first innings gave us an upper hand in the match," Ian Singh said.
Meanwhile, seamer, Mohammad Mudhasir, who picked a hat-trick against Rajasthan earlier this month, said that it's a must-win game for J&K.
"We are playing with the six bowlers in this part and we must get twenty wickets and hence post a win. Also, I loved the way Banday played for his ton," Mudhasir said.