CHENNAI: After his team’s creditable win against defending champions Tamil Nadu, Goa skipper Swapnil Asnodkar said that his team are capable of more upsets against stronger sides in the Vijay Hazare tournament. While Asnodkar’s words may sound bullish, but the manner in which Goa admirably played as a unit on Thursday and trounced Rajasthan by three wickets proves that opponents have to take them seriously.
For the minnows to punch above their weight and win two matches in a row is massive. Most of them look up to Shadab Jakati, the last player from the tourist paradise to make an impact. Jakati, with his tight bowling and useful batting, played in the IPL to come out of obscurity. Darshan Misal, who helped Goa win the game, has a similar style of play and wishes to follow Jakati’s footsteps.
“We are well aware of how Jakati came up the ladder due to hardwork and the impact IPL had in his career. I look forward to using a similar path in the future. For now, I am keen to do well in domestic matches and help my team to gain maximum points,’’ said Misal.
Former Goa player Sharad Pednekar, who is here as manager, agrees with Misal. “Our players come from a small state, we do not have players like say MS Dhoni, who could make a mark coming from a small place like Ranchi. IPL is the best route to wear national colours. Playing in the IPL is not easy, but if you work hard, you can climb the ladder,’’ said Sharad.
For Rajasthan, Parthasarathi Sharma and Pankaj Singh are still the reference points. Pankaj played for India in Tests against England four years back and never got a look in again. He played a lone ODI for India eight years back. But Rajasthan coach Amit Asawa believes that his current crop of fast bowlers will don the national colours soon. “It is the best time to be a fast bowler in India. Aniket Choudhary, Khaleel Ahmed and Kamlesh Nagarkoti (who is yet to join the team) he joins us, we will have one of the most potent new ball attacks in the country. We have tracks that aid fast bowling at home and there is lot of interest among youngsters to bowl fast in Rajasthan,’’ opined Amit.
Fast bowlers hunt in pairs and both Aniket and Khaleel want to dominate the game. With lively pace and carry, the duo bowled some unplayable balls to the Goa batsmen. “Both of us complement each other. We train at the MRF Pace foundation and our game has improved a lot. I take pleasure in bowling a quicker one, just back of length ball. I am trying to incorporate a slower one into my game. Batting is one area that I need to improve,’’ said Aniket.
For Khaleel, it is express pace. “I recently bowled 148. Pace is my strength. The training at the MRF Pace Foundation has helped us develop the body language: think like fast bowler and bowl really quick,’’ said Khaleel.