Ready to take on Mumbai: Yusuf Pathan
The Yusuf Pathan-led Baroda side arrived in Mumbai yesterday to take on Ajit Agarkar and Co at the Wankhede Stadium in the Ranji Trophy quarter-finals from January 6 to 10. After practicing here in the late afternoon yesterday, the visitors trained hard today in the morning in the other half of the ground alongside the home team.
While interacting with the media ahead of the match, the Baroda captain promised good cricket. “The boys are confident, we will play good cricket. I can’t say who will win or who will lose, but we will play well and try to win.”
Speaking about his team, which will be missing two key players in Irfan Pathan and Munaf Patel, Yusuf Pathan said, “Both of them are not there. The way Irfan had started for us [was good]. He had set a very high standard. If you see he had played for eight days – here [in Mumbai] against England XI and then came there [for the Ranji Trophy match against Karnataka] and slammed a hundred. So it is sad for us that he won’t be there for quarter-finals. And it is a negative point for us that Munaf Patel is also not there.”
“[But] Murtuja Vahora and Gagandeep [Singh] both are doing well. Bhargav Bhatt is doing well too in the bowling department. And some boys who have started in this season are also doing well. So it is good for us that someone or the other is standing up and performing for us. It is not like we are only relying on one or two people. Although there are one or two players that we depend on, they are getting good support from the others,” he added.
On the Wankhede wicket he said, “The Mumbai wicket is always good. It is always a good sporting track. In the West wherever you go there is bounce. Wherever there is red soil the bounce will be there.
Speaking about his teams composition, Pathan said, “All the boys are doing well, so it is tough to decide who will play and who will sit out. Lot of the boys have done well so far on our way to the knock out so it will be difficult to decide who will play. We will discuss and decide.”
Speaking about the opposition, he said, “Your confidence also gets a boost when you perform against a good team.”
“I hope to do and perform well. Being a captain and senior player it is my responsibility and am ready for it.”
Recalling the thrilling semi-final against Mumbai in 2007, he said, “Mumbai was zero for five, we had Irfan, [Rakesh] Patel and some bowlers like that. We have a young team but hope that these boys will also do something like that.”
When they face off against Mumbai they will playing against Sachin Tendulkar, so on playing against the master batsman he said, “You can’t say anything about him. He is in a different league. The way he has played for the country for over 20 years [is remarkable]. What he has done and can do all know. No one can stop him but we have got a good opportunity here. I have played with him in ODIs and against him some times like in the IPL. For youngsters who are playing in their first or second season, this is an opportunity to learn from him. It is an opportunity for all of us to learn from him.”
After playing four-day league matches the quarter-final which is a five-day game he said, “In a five-day game you will get a result. In a four-day game sometimes if you lose the first innings [lead] you feel that getting a result is difficult, but in five day game even if you lose the first innings [lead] I believe you still have a chance to come back. It is good to play a five-day game. The confidence will be there that there is chance to comeback even if you lose the first innings [lead].”
Speaking about his captaincy, he said, “I am enjoying the captaincy. Rest, the boys can tell you about my approach. I only tell them to enjoy the game on the ground and not worry about the results and we will see what is to be done when the result comes. So I tell them to focus and enjoy. We enjoy each other’s success. We have a small team and we work together. There are new players coming in from Under-25 [team], young players are coming in and enjoying, so it is good. They have a positive attitude and I am also enjoying playing with them. I believe in enjoying the game.”