Sorry Saurashtra ruin Ranji final

Mumbai, Jan. 29 -- A measure of how much Indian cricket has to improve, to become a force in all seasons and against all oppositions, was on display in the Ranji Trophy final.

On their benign home turf, this Saurashtra batting line-up can make bowlers toil, but when given a track that assists the faster bowlers, like in the title clash at the Wankhede Stadium, their limitations lay exposed.

From the second-best side in the country, it was an embarrassing display to be bundled out for 82 in just 36.3 overs. The second innings shocker came after they had crashed to 148 on the opening day. As a result, the biggest game of the domestic calendar ended inside three days.

What should have been one of the most competitive matches of the tournament, turned out to be lopsided. The 2012-13 Ranji Trophy final proved to be a cakewalk for Mumbai, their first innings total of 355 was more than sufficient to win by an innings and 125 runs.

The 40th title for the hosts will go down as one of the easiest triumphs in their illustrious history. The wicket certainly offered assistance to the pace bowlers but held no demons to be termed unplayable, especially when compared to the surfaces on which England and Australia made India play during the 0-8 whitewash last season.

Raised on the featherbeds of Rajkot, the Saurashtra batsmen looked completely clueless when questions were asked by the bowlers with swing movement. The Mumbai bowling attack was made to look intimidating, but the fact is that the same team had achieved only one outright win in 10 games this season.

Footwork is the key to handling the moving ball, getting in line and playing close to the body. Then one has to have good judgment of leaving the ball. The lack of these skills was exposed on the first morning itself when Mumbai spearhead Dhawal Kulkarni shook the batsmen's confidence with a testing off-stump line. They did even worse in the second dig, reduced to 11 for five at one stage.

In a way, it was a reflection of what has ailed the country's cricket system and why we haven't been able to be consistently competitive overseas.

To be fair, the Indian board made an attempt this season to get better tracks in domestic cricket. But, not all associations seemed to have understood the reasoning behind the instructions to play on true wickets.

At the start of the season, as reported by HT, the Saurashtra Cricket Association had been issued instructions to avoid making flat tracks like the ones they had rolled out for the high-scoring Challenger Trophy matches. The lessons were not learnt, and while they can turn back and argue that their runners-up finish is still their best performance ever, not everyone is convinced about the true gains.

At the end of the farcical final, Saurashtra coach Debu Mitra agreed that their home ground needs to have sporting tracks. "I am going to talk to our association's president to have some wickets like these (pace-friendly). Only Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravindra Jadeja and Sitanshu Kotak can do well here as they play most of their cricket outside, the rest of our boys play on the perfect wickets at Rajkot. They have no experience of playing in these conditions."

For the record, Kulkarni claimed five wickets and skipper Ajit Agarkar four to star in Mumbai's victory on Monday.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Punjab pull off another big chase

Punjab pull off another big chase

GAME 7, SHARJAH—Maxwell, Miller, Pujara chase down Rajasthan's 192. More »

Royal test for Kings

Royal test for Kings

Preview — Clash of philosophies between Australia-centric teams More »

Have nothing to prove to anybody — Sehwag

Have nothing to prove to anybody — Sehwag

The Nawab of Najafgarh says a good run in IPL could help his chances of a comeback on India's tour to England in June. More »

Shastri in proposed IPL probe panel

Shastri in proposed IPL probe panel

Some members stressed on the need for proposing names with an "impeccable record and clean image". More »

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Furious fifties by Duminy and Dinesh Karthik end a long losing streak for the Daredevils. More »

Five things England must do to bounce back

Five things England must do to bounce back

England have appointed a new head coach in Peter Moores. More »

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

Royal Challengers overcame a stutter to cruise to the small target they were set by Mumbai Indians. More »

‘Felt like helpless minority’

‘Felt like helpless minority’

Former BCCI treasurer Ajay Shirke says emotions got the better of Srinivasan and he tried to oversimplify things by calling Meiyappan an “enthusiast.” More »

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

His status as president of TNCA makes him eligible to attend the Working Committee meeting on Sunday. More »

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

Kevin Pietersen's hopes of reviving his international career appeared to end Saturday when ECB managing director Paul Downton said there was 'no way back'… More »

The world record that nearly wasn't

The world record that nearly wasn't

Twenty years ago this week, Brian Lara became Test cricket's highest scorer, but he almost didn't make it. More »

Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell seems to project an icy disdain when at the crease. Match situations rarely faze him and the bubble in which he plays excludes everyone … More »

Moores gets second stint as coach

Moores gets second stint as coach

In a two-year spell from 2007 to 2009, the 51-year-old Moores led England in seven Test series. More »

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh's senior players will have three sessions with a psychological skill development coach later this month More »

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

Dalmiya feels that Srinivasan’s ‘power hungry’ attitude isn’t helping matters. More »

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

The 36-year-old believes the T20 format and rule changes in 50-over matches have made a real difference. More »

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Kevin Pietersen has ridiculed the idea of day-night Test cricket, saying the game would be so different to proper Test cricket that we will need a whole… More »

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

The bowlers restricted Hyderabad to 133 for 6 before Rahane and Binny took Rajasthan over the line. More »

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

The Kings XI batsman blasted a 43-ball 95 to help his team pull off a massive chase against Chennai Super Kings. More »

BCCI members want independent probe

BCCI members want independent probe

The board members are realising after the Supreme Court's observations that something has to be done — IS Bindra More »

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

Two former BCCI presidents, Shashank Manohar and Jagmohan Dalmiya, have reacted strongly to the news of the BCCI calling an emergent meeting on Sunday… More »

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Preview — The threat of Sunil Narine looms large again. More »

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Preview — Given the firepower in both line-ups, Dubai crowd may see another high-scorer More »

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »