Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Lack of support for Fallah?

Maharashtra Ranji coach Shaun Williams doesn't think so

Suhrid Barua, Pune Mirror, November 16, 2008

The limitations in the Maharashtra bowling attack were exposed in thedrawn Ranji game against Andhra. Take out Samad Fallah out of thebowling equation and there's hardly anything to gloat about the otherbowlers in the team. Fallah took eight out of the fifteen wickets to fall for Andhra. Andthat doesn't speak much good about the other bowlers. Terming thewicket as a flat one would only be tantamount to an excuse or how elsethe likes of Fallah and Andhra's M Suresh (he reaped 4-75 inMaharashtra' first innings) got richer with the wickets.

So what does coach Shaun Williams think about the lack of support forFallah? "Fallah bowled superbly in both the innings against Andhra.But it doesn't mean the other bowlers were bowling a heap of rubbish.I won't buy the theory that Fallah lacked support from the other end.I thought Aditya (Dole) looked good but was unlucky not to be amongthe wickets. As for Enamul, people are having 'unrealisticexpectations' from him. If you think someone is not bowling well justbecause he is wicketless, then I don't know what to say. As far as Iam concerned, there is nothing wrong with his bowling, you must haveseen how a quite number of close lbw shouts went against him againstAndhra. If a few of those decisions went in Enamul's favour, thingswould have been different," the Aussie jumps to the defense of theformer Bangladeshi tweaker.

Even leg-spinner Digambar Waghmare was used sparingly in the match,bowling just twenty six overs in two innings. Williams tries tojustify that. "Look, save for the second session today, where we driedup the runs, we have struggled to keep it tough from both ends in boththe Ranji games. You don't want to have a leggie bowl from one endwhen the runs are flowing from the other end. It's only when runs dryup from one end you employ them," he explains.

But hasn't Fallah looked the only bowler who looked like gettingwickets every time he comes on to bowl? "Fallah is on top of his gameat the moment. Any team would want their most in-form bowler bowl themaximum overs and the same is the case with us," Williams puts things in perspective.
But there's also a lurking apprehension of 'overbowling' Fallah sincethe youngster has already bowled 91 overs in three Ranji innings. Sowhat's the ideal number of overs a seamer should be bowling on beltersin India? "Ideally, a seamer should be comfortable enough to bowl 25overs a day whatever be the conditions, said Williams, who admittedthat the Maharashtra left-arm seamer is taking a heavy workload."Fallah is bowling a lot and I'm not denying that. Also, rememberFallah is a lot fitter than he was this time last season thanks to thehealthy involvement of our physio and trainer. We are not putting anypressure on Fallah to bowl more. On the contrary, Fallah loves to bowlall the time. He wants the ball on his hand always but at the sametime we are monitoring on our part to ensure he doesn't break down. AsI said before, he's getting stronger than before and is very muchcapable of sustaining the bowling workload he is carrying at themoment. He has four days break before the Uttar Pradesh game and thebreak would do him a lot of good and also to the other players," heexplained.

Just relish it!

Bowling 91 overs in two Ranji games, Maharashtra seamer Samad Fallah doesn't see it as any kind of workload

Suhrid Barua, Pune Mirror, November 14, 2008

His radiant smile hardly indicates the kind of work ethic Samad Fallah indulges in. Grabbing the responsibility of being the pace spearhead of the Maharashtra Ranji side (remember his regular opening bowler partner Wahid Sayyid is sitting out because of injury) with both hands, Fallah has pegged away manfully, rising to the occasion consistently.

The left-arm seamer has bowled his heart out and hasn't allowed the nature of the surface dent his wickets column. His 6-102 in the first innings against Andhra bears testimony to that. So how does it feel being the spearhead of the Maharashtra Ranji bowling attack? "It feels good if you feel like that because to be honest I've never thought on those lines. The all I know is that when I've the ball on my hand, I just want to keep hurling it at the opposition batsmen and get them out," he sounds maturity-personified. Bowling ninety one overs in two matches inside ten days must be some kind of workload for any bowler, let alone Fallah, but the Pune lad says he is up for it.

"By God's grace, I never had any injury niggles and have always stayed fit. Even in the pre-season practice games I was bowling nearly thirty overs a day and let me tell you that the amount of bowling I am doing now, I really don't see it as a huge workload," explains Fallah, who actually relishes the situation when the onus is on him to deliver. "I love challenges. The bigger the challenge, the better you get. There can be no bigger way of contributing for your team by getting wickets when your side needs the most," said the Hyderabad-born seamer.

Hasn't his exploits with the ball already made him a 'hero' in the side? "Please don't put me under pressure. I'm a humble guy who only concentrates on doing well for the side. The day I think like that (of being a hero) I will be finished as a cricketer," Fallah said, guarding against any sort of complacency.

Bowling workload
33-2-131-1 vs Tamil Nadu
36 6 102 6 vs Andhra22
4 57 2 vs Andhra-
91 12 290 9

Hard Grind

That's what the Maharashtra batsmen went through as they eked out a 45-run first innings lead to collect three crucial points against Andhra

Suhrid Barua, Pune Mirror, November 13, 2008

Maharashtra may be sedately jumping for 'joy'after garnering 'three' crucial points by virtue of their 45-run first innings lead over Andhra (provided we don't commit hara-kiri and lose the game which looks a remote possibility with one day left on a track that has shown no sign of affording any turn). But not many would disagree that the State team were made to dig deep into their reserves even as they surpassed the first innings score of their opponents.

Mind you, Maharashtra resumed at a formidable overnight score of 205 for one on day three. And the stage was set for the State batsmen to make merry and drive the visitors to despair.
But contrary to what was widely expected by the spectators, the script took a different turn. Andhra bowlers devised a strategy to stifle the flow of runs from the Maharashtra batsmen. Setting a 8-1 field (eight on the off-side and one on the on-side) for most part, they kept repeatedly pitching it wide off the off stump, making it difficult for Maharashtra to keep up the same scoring rate they maintained on day two. Andhra seamers – Kalyankrishna and Vijaykumar kept pegging away outside the off stump, and the Maharashtra batsmen seemed to fall into the defensive field trap set by their opponents, something State coach Shaun Williams acknowledges.

"I think the Andhra bowlers executed their plans near perfectly. Every team, which is pushed on the back foot, would resort to defensive tactics. You don't expect them to pitch it within the stumps and get whacked around. I reckon we allowed them to succeed with their plans as we didn't do anything different to unsettle their rhythm," Williams admits.

From Maharashtra's perspective, the situation demanded someone to stuck in and get a big one and put State in a position from where they can go for a win. But have a look at Rohan (Bhosale), Kedar (Jadhav), Ameya (Shrikhande) and Ankit (Bawne), they all got promising starts but were not able to convert them into big three-figure scores. "We needed someone to notch a big hundred which didn't happen today. Rohan fell early, Kedar, Ameya and Ankit got promising starts but I don't want to be harsh on them as run-making was made 'difficult' by the Andhra bowlers," explains Williams, who was quick to pick out Bawne's knock as a crucial one.

"Ankit played exceedingly well with the lower-order batsmen. His 44 may not look so good in the stats file, but in the context of this match it's an invaluable knock. If he had got out cheaply, who knows, we might have ended up conceding first innings lead. Full marks to him for the way he applied himself," remarked Williams who is now seeing visions of a win. "
A brilliant spell from Fallah in the first session you never know. But let's not be ahead of our ourselves and take one day, one session at a time and hope for the best," he added.

Good day in office

After being pushed on the back foot on day one, Maharashtra came outwith a disciplined batting effort to throw the gauntlet at Andhra

Suhrid Barua, Pune Mirror, November 12, 2008

In cricket it takes a session to change the complexion of the game andMaharashtra showed just that as the hosts had set up the 'process' ofwresting the 'initiative' from Andhra on day one itself with SamadFallah's three-wicket burst with the second new ball. And though theAndhra lower-order stuck it out for two hours in the first session onday two, even threatening to regain control over the match, especiallywith the 38-run last-wicket stand between Raju and Vijaykumar thatfrustrated Maharashtra to no end. It finally needed skipper NikhilParadkar to wrap up their innings when he cleaned up Raju at thevisitors' score on 348.

The biggest bright spot for Maharashtra in the pre-lunch session wasthe end of a wicket-taking drought of Bangladeshi left-arm spinnerEnamul Haque, who was jumping for joy after snaring Suresh who skiedone to Fallah at mid-on. "I want to thank God for it. Taking wicketson such surfaces has been a huge challenge. This lean run has made metougher, I'm sure I will only get better," he said with a massive sighof relief after snaffling his maiden Ranji wicket for Maharashtra .

And as if to celebrate his first Ranji wicket under Maharashtracolours, his team-mate Samad Fallah came to the party, taking hissixth scalp trapping Sai in front to complete his second six-wickethaul in an Ranji innings. "My 6-45 against Himachal Pradesh atDharamsala came on a wicket that had something in it for the bowlers.Here, the deck has little purchase for the seamers," remarked Fallah.

Once the action resumed in the post-lunch session, it was anout-and-out Harshad Khadiwale show. A guy who prefers to play in the'V', Khadiwale seems to have a lot of time to play his shots. Blessedwith a wide array of strokes on both sides of the wicket, Khadiwaledrove, cut and pulled with authority and literally made the Andhrabowlers bend to his knees.

His flowing strokes unsettled the Andhra bowlers who were alreadygetting rattled by the left-right combo (his opening partner RohanBhosale is a southpaw). He survived two chances on 66 and 86 but itmattered little as he had done maximum damage on Andhra by then.
Spare a thought for Rohan Bhosale as well. He may not a naturalstrokemaker like Khadiwale, but makes up for it with his doggeddetermination.

The 158-run opening stand wouldn't have been possiblewithout Bhosale's solid support from the other end. Having attainedhis career-best Ranji score of 72 at stumps, he could be in line tonotch up his maiden Ranji century which could facilitate the victorypath for Maharashtra. Remember one thing: if the State batsmen manageto bat out the whole day on Wednesday (wipe out the 143-run deficit asearly as possible), let alone first innings lead, the State side couldbe even sniffing victory.

'Pressure is there'

Admits, struggling Enamul who is anxiously waiting to get his first Ranji wicket for Maharashtra

Suhrid Barua, Pune Mirror, November 11, 2008

Enamul Haque's inclusion in the Maharashtra Ranji side as the lone foreign player caught many in the state cricket circles by surprise. And now that 'surprise' is being replaced by growing 'frustration' over the former Bangladesh left-arm spinner's failure to deliver with the ball.The 21-year-old tweaker had a forgettable day in the Ranji opener against Tamil Nadu, and against Andhra he continued to struggle, making little impression when the onus was on him to come to the party.

The man in question admits he is feeling the pressure. "Pressure is always there. I would be lying if I say there's no pressure. It's natural for my team to expect me to get my name in the wickets column on a regular basis and I am not able to do that so far," Enamul says with a smattering of disappointment.

The soft-spoken Bangladeshi has already bowled 58 overs, conceding 246 runs and is still anxiously waiting to snare his first wicket for Maharashtra. "It's been quite a wait. I don't have a choice but to stay positive and patient. I thought the wicket was another belter like the first one. I don't want to give any excuses for being wicketless, but must say that luck plays a big factor these days. I hope I get over my bad patch soon and help my team win matches," he sought to put things in perspective.

Maharashtra team selector and manager Pandurang Salgonakar agreed that the team management is concerned about Enamul's form with the ball. "We are definitely worried about his bowling form. He needs to settle down quickly before it's too late. We cannot afford to have a bowler like Enamul go wicketless for long. Coach Shaun Williams will have a talk with him and lets hope he finds his bowling form sooner than later as there is a lot of cricket to be played in this match," he opined.

Enamul's downcast showing was overshadowed by a lion-hearted five-wicket haul by seamer Samad Fallah (5-65) to resuscitate Maharashtra's hopes of staying in the contest. The left-arm bowler moved the ball both ways with aplomb and reduced Andhra to 262 for 6 at stumps. At 246 for three with six overs to go, Andhra seemed to have taken the day one honours on the back of a workmanlike century by opener Hemal Watekar (142), but in Fallah they found someone who played a spoiler to their plans.

"It's a kind of wicket where no total is safe. There sense of satisfaction of getting a fiver on a batsmen-friendly track is huge. I will savour this moment," said the 23-year-old who picked up his second five-wicket haul in Ranji Trophy (his career-best returns of 6-49 came against Himachal Pradesh at Dharamsala last season.

Let's face it

A robust batting show against Tamil Nadu, may paint a rosy picture for Maharashtra ahead of their Andhra tie, but the larger question is: Do we have the bowlers to take twenty wickets?

Suhrid Barua, Pune Mirrror November 10, 2008

The pall of dejection that surrounded the Maharashtra team for the first day and a half in the face of a battering handed out by the Tamil Nadu batsmen in their Ranji opener, gave way to an upbeat mood on the back of a robust batting riposte by the State side for the next two and a half days. The spring in the steps of the Maharashtra side was amply evident from the way they went about their strenuous practice session ahead of the crucial second tie against Andhra.

Clearly, an air of 'all is fine with the State team' is palpable, but the larger picture is: Do we have the bowlers to take the twenty wickets to win a match? Tad taken aback by the poser, State coach Shaun Williams refused to buy that, emphatically saying his side has the bowling ammunition to run through side twice in a match. "If we thought these bowlers didn't have it in them to bowl a side out twice in a match, there won't be picked in the side. Trust me, they are not here to make the numbers," he snapped back.

But doesn't he think that too much talk about the opening game wicket as a belter being used as an 'excuse' for the spineless bowling effort by Maharashtra? "You got to be fair on the bowlers. We lost the toss against Tamil Nadu and bowled when the wicket was at its best for batting. When you have a featherbed, you got to make early inroads with the new ball, otherwise you are going to be doing leather chasing under the hot sun. We need to make maximum damage with the new ball," he explains.

Agreed, the wicket was a batting beauty. How about the State spinners falling short of expectations (taking only one of the three wickets to fall) on the same 'belter' where Tamil Nadu tweakers snaffled thirteen scalps? "Look, the ideal situation for the spinners to be in full cry is when the seamers have knocked over a few top-order batsmen. Spinners need assistance from the seamers who didn't hit the right areas. Fallah looked good in his opening spell but was guilty of some wayward stuff thereafter. Dole didn't bowl as well as he can," he reasons.

The long foreign player in the side, Bangladesh's Enamul Haque was bandied about our trump card in the spin bowling department. But he was tonked all over the park like a school boy bowler. "Don't be harsh on Enamul. He was playing his first game, he was probably trying too hard. I'm sure he will come sooner than later," Williams jumps to his defense. The strip for the second game also looks to be another batting beauty. So what would be his success mantra for his bowlers if there isn't much in the wicket. "Seamers need to put the ball on the 'corridor of uncertainty' with a fair amount of consistency when there's not much happening off the wicket. As for the spinners, I thought there were concentrating a lot on taking wickets. They should look at creating pressure on the batsmen by drying up the runs and maintaining tight overs which would see frustration get the better of the batsmen," he said.

Maharashtra team selector and manager Pandurang Salgonakar feels lack of genuine quick bowlers in the state side is a major shortcoming for the side. "We don't have anyone who can hustle up a batsman with speed. Only somebody who is quick through the air can cause destruction on wickets which are heavily loaded in favour of the batters," the fomer Ranji seamer said. Discipline is going to be the prime factor, feels Salgonakar. "You can't just steam in and blast the batsmen away. Our seamers have to mix it up if the are to succeed on batsmen-friendly decks. As far as our spinners are concerned, it's important for them to understand it's not always about turning the ball. Altering the speed of the ball for a spinner is a must," he added.

Only gold counts

World Youth Boxing champ Nanao Singh discloses how his girlfriend Anjana pushed him hard to go after the yellow metal

Suhrid Barua, November 8, 2008

Family inspiration or blessings count a lot in pursuit of success. But there was a different kind of driving 'force' behind Thokchom Nanao Singh's gold triumph in the recently-concluded World Youth Boxing Championships in Mexico.A product of the city's Army Sports Institute (ASI), Nanao was a touch sheepish about disclosing his secret success mantra, but when prodded relentlessly he gave in.Nanao opened up about how his girlfriend Anjana served as a huge motivation factor for his Mexico glory. "Anjana (she's a computer student back home) used to tell me that I have to go for the gold medal in the World Championship. She didn't want me to get complacent after my gold winning effort at the Commonwealth Youth Games. She kept telling me that nobody cares in India if you win silver or bronze," reveals the fleet-boxer who pocketed the yellow metal in the 48-kg category.

Nanao met Anjana through common friends a-year-and-half back in hometown Bishnupur while he went out for an outing with his friends. "I met her through some of my close friends. I was bit shy at that time but gradually we hit it off well. We are good friends and that's important," he says.So obviously marriage is the logical destination of their relationship. "Definitely not in the immediate future. I'm only 18. I've a lot of things to achieve in the boxing ring. My beau (Anjana) wants me to box with consistency and get an Olympic gold in the 2012 Games. She wants me to achieve that. To be frank I only see myself getting hitched in another eight or nine years from now," quipped Nanao who countered stiff competition at the World Championship compared to the CYG where he was hardly stretched.

"I really didn't have to dig deep as my opponents hardly posed a threat. But at the World Championship in Mexico, it was tough going from bout one," explains the Manipuri lad who is getting used to the new-found experience of signing autographs. "It was certainly a new thing for me when I had to sign autographs for hordes of spectators after I won the CYG gold in front of my home crowd. It was a humbling experience, I must say," he added.

Friday, November 7, 2008

You Know What

Seamer Mondeep Mangela, who is cooling his heels on the sidelines on disciplinary grounds, reportedly smsed MCA about his desire to join the team for the Ranji opener in Nashik on his own instead of travelling with the team

Suhrid Barua, Pune Mirror, November 4, 2008

Pune: Outstation seamer Moondeep Mangela is cooling his heels on disciplinary grounds. The price he pays for his ‘unbecoming behaviour’ is axing from the from the 17-member State squad for the ongoing Ranji opener against Tamil Nadu and also probably for the second tie against Andhra. But Maharashtra’s toothless bowling performance which allowed Tamil Nadu to run up a score in excess of 600, may just prompt the team think-tank to summon Mangela back into the side for the Andhra game.

MCA tight-lipped
Though the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) officials have not been forthcoming on the issue, save for uttering the ‘disciplinary ground’ line, highly-placed sources indicate that it was not just one or two incidents of ‘unprofessional’ behaviour on the part of Mangela that led the state cricket association to overlook him for the first two games.
When probed further, it was learnt that Mangela didn’t hit the right notes with his ‘negative attitude’. It was learnt that Mangala was guilty of breaching the ‘unofficial’ code of conduct by repeatedly showing up late for a few of the pre-season practice games.
Only two ties
Interestingly, Mangela played in only two of the six practice games. He was even believed to have smsed the team management of his unavailability for some of those games.
Clearly, the MCA wasn't taking kindly to his demeanour. Probably the fact that he was brought as an 'outstation' player would have probably made him feel that he’s indispensable for the State Ranji side.
Sample this: The Ranji team was announced around 9.30 pm on October 28. And Mangela presuming that he would be picked in the 17-member squad, smsed the MCA that he would directly join the Ranji squad in Nashik in time for the opening game instead of travelling with the team.
MCA deserves a pat
Any player who thinks himself above the team should be dealt with a firm hand. The MCA has to be patted on their backs for cracking the whip on Mangela. Taking a tough stance can always have the positive effect in the long run and one hopes it does for Mangela. Realisation seems to have dawned on the medium pacer, who is seen as a nippy customer by coach Shaun Williams, that he wasn’t going to have his way with his unacceptable behaviour. The youngster now is apologetic about his behaviour and can’t wait to get back in the side.
One thing is for sure; we have not heard the last of Mangela, for he has plenty of expectations to fulfil when he hurls the red cherry for Maharashtra while donning the Ranji whites.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Convincing Powers!

World Youth Boxing Champion Nanao Singh’s first coach Chingkhei reveals how he had to cajole the boxer’s father to allow him TO pursue the sport seriously

Suhrid Barua Pune Mirror, November 3, 2008

Pune: Even as Thokchom Nanao Singh threw a fusillade of punches on World Cadet Championship bronze medallist Grigoriy Nikolaychuk of Russia en route to a clinical 15-5 gold medal triumph at the inaugural AIBA World Youth Boxing Championships in Guadalajara, Mexico, there was one man who was jumping for joy at his native state of Manipur.
Yelam Chingkhei Lumba, the man who first evinced interest in Nanao to wear the boxing gloves (during his early days in Manipur) is experiencing a top-of-the-world kind of feeling to see his ward make it big on the world stage. “It gives me immense joy to see Nanao winning the World Youth Championships gold. He has always had it in him to reach the summit and he proved it in no uncertain terms. I’m running short of words to describe this brilliant feat,” gushes Chingkhei, barely able to hide his delight.
The 40-year-old coach took the Army Sports Institute (ASI) boxer under his wings when he was only ten-years old. Even today, Chingkhei lucidly remembers how he had to use his ‘convincing powers’ to make Nanao’s father, Totobi Singh understand the significance of allowing his son pursue boxing. “Totobi strongly disapproved Nanao taking up boxing seriously. Nanao turned defiant to his father’s opposition towards boxing and started bunking school classes,” Chingkhei recounts.
How the ice was broken
Nanao’s first boxing guru revealed how the ice was broken. “Totobi one day brought Nanao along with him to the Bishnupur District Amateur Boxing Association training centre. It was here that I was able to convince Nanao’s father that he should be encouraged to pursue boxing because I knew this boy had all the right attributes to corner glory on the world stage,” added Chingkhei who is employed with Manipur Home Guards.
So has he been able to sent a congratulatory sms or call Nanao? “No, not yet. I only have his cell number which isn’t functioning as he is abroad. But Nanao did call me when he was at the Delhi airport before his departure for the World Championships. He wanted to seek my blessings and I told him not to be satisfied with the Commonwealth Youth Games gold medal and go for the gold in Mexico,” Chingkhei added.
Though it’s still early days for Nanao, Chingkhei wants him to follow the Vijender way. “Vijender made the country proud in Beijing. Now, I want Nanao not just to get a medal in 2012 Olympics but win that coveted yellow metal,” he added.

Mamma's boy

Newly-appointed Maharashtra Ranji captain Nikhil Paradkar reveals that Bhindi Bhaji rustled up by mother is his favourite food

Suhrid Barua, Pune Mirror, October 29, 2008

Captaincy is all more about learning on the 'job'. Mastering the art is easier said than done. Even many greats like Allan Border and Clive Lloyd on the world stage had to tide over many odds to make it count in that role. And for Maharashtra's newly-appointed Ranji captain Nikhil Paradkar, it won't be exactly like being thrown in at the deep end. For Nikhil has a fair amount of experience captaining the state side at various age levels (u-15,u-17 and u-19).

But the 21-year-old southpaw knows all too well that captaining the Ranji side will be a different ball game altogether. "It will be a different kettle of fish. I've been captaining since my school days at JN Petit Technical School. I've also led the state team in various age groups. But this (Ranji captaincy) will be hugely challenging," he said.Keep it simpleParadkar feels keeping things simple is the best way to approach a new job. "You have to be on the ball. It's all important to think ahead of the game and accordingly prepare strategies to outwit the opposition," said the second year B. Com student of city's SP College, who sees West Indian Brian Lara as his role model.

Best Buddies

Paradkar, who made his Ranji debut against Hyderabad at Karad during the 2006-07 season, says his best buddies in the team are Harshad Khadiwale and Kedar Jadhav, both of whom he pipped for the captaincy job. "I hit it off well with Harshad and Kedar which doesn't mean I don't get along with the other team members. I expect wholehearted support from them as well as from the others in the team which should make myself settle down nicely into the job," he opined.

Mother's boy

Paradkar, though, doesn't believe much in eating out though he is not averse to the idea. "I love to eat any home cooked food rustled up by mother. Bhindi Bhaji with roti prepared by her is my favourite," he reveals (grins).

I will bounce back:Takawale

Suhrid Barua, Pune Mirror, October 29 ,2008

Yogesh Takawale's axing was a bit of a surprise. Just 18 runs in four pre-season practice games and wicketkeeping howlers during the recently-concluded Challenger tourney shaped a big role in nullifying his aspirations of finding a berth in the side. But who knows, the talented bloke could be back if the State side has to face reverses in the first two games."Selection is not in my hands. I've a lot of confidence in my ability and would come out firing in whatever practice games I get to play. I will bounce back," said Takawale.

Why Harshad Khadiwale and Kedar Jadhav missed the captaincy bus?

Suhrid Barua, Pune Mirror, October 29, 2008

Harshad Khadiwale: The team think-tank felt that Khadiwale is being looked upon as the main batting mainstay of the side. He is expected to open the innings and also roll his arm over with his medium pace stuff. So that could be quite a workload for the youngster and the selection committee probably thought that the diminutive batsman should be left free from the mantle of captaincy.

Kedar Jadhav: Kedar is an exciting prospect. The team braintrust was of the opinion that the precocious talent Kedar possesses, he should be allowed to blossom. Basically, he should be left on his own to do what he knows best - scoring runs - not the sparkling forties and fifties but the big ones.

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