After savouring their win over Mumbai, the Parthiv Patel-led Gujarat have pushed the reset button and are geared up to add another feather to their cap. Speaking ahead of the Irani Cup game, the Gujarat skipper said, “Enough time has been passed since we won the Ranji Trophy. It is something that we all have agreed to, once the Ranji Trophy is finished, it is done. We had a goal of winning the Ranji Trophy before the season started we have achieved it, now we go to the next level and improve as a team and as individuals. It is something that every player in this team understands. They don’t want to get satisfied (by winning Ranji Trophy alone).
“Also, it is a very big opportunity for all of us to play against a good quality side (ROI) and perform and get our game to the next level,” Parthiv added.
Asked what is his advise to the youngsters he said, “I don’t have to guide them much. They have played enough cricket. Some of the young players have been part of the IPL set up so they are mature enough and also, they have the experience of playing first-class cricket. During the game, if there is a situation where I need to guide, I will do so. They need a platform and this probably the right platform where they can express themselves.”
Speaking about the opponents, Pujara said, “Gujarat is a good team. They have won the Ranji Trophy so we are all looking forward to the game.”
Speaking about his team’s strengths, the Gujarat captain stated, “We have been getting a lot of runs and that is something which we have banked on. In the Ranji trophy final also we had backed ourselves to bat on the fifth day. We definitely are a batting heavy side there are no secrets about it.” Asked if their bowling could bowl out the strong ROI lineup twice, Parthiv said, “Winning the Ranji Trophy says it all, doesn’t it? We wouldn’t have been here if we didn’t have the quality of it (bowling attack). Playing good cricket for three months is huge and it’s not that we have only got runs; we have had outright wins, we have won on a flatter wicket as well so I think the bowling is there, the we definitely have the quality.”
The ROI attack comprises bowlers like – Siddarth Kaul, K Vignesh, Mohammed Siraj (replaces Shardul Thakur) and Pankaj Singh. Speaking about Pankaj, Pujara said, “He is a very good bowler. Personally, I think he is one of the most talented fast-bowlers that we have. He is someone who always likes to improve. He gives his best.” The spin department is packed with the season’s highest wicket-taker, Shahbaz Nadeem, Kuldeep Yadav and Akshay Wakhare.
Speaking about the exposure that the platform affords him ahead of the forthcoming Tests, Pujara said, “I think it will be good for me to have some practice before the Test series starts. I always love playing first-class cricket. It gives you experience and exposure. You are always in touch with the game.”
ROI team: Cheteshwar Pujara (captain), Abhinav Mukund, Akhil Herwadkar, Karun Nair, Manoj Tiwary, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Kuldeep Yadav, Shahbaz Nadeem, Pankaj Singh, K Vignesh, Siddarth Kaul, MD Siraj, Akshay Wakhare
Gujarat: Parthiv Patel (captain, wk), Rujul Bhatt, Priyank Panchal, Samit Gohil, Het Patel, Manprit Juneja, Chirag Gandhi, Rush Kalaria, Mohit Thadani, Karan Patel, Hardik Patel, Chintan Gaja, Dhruv Raval, RP singh, Ishwar Chaudhary