Winds of change and a first for Rajasthan

Only four of the 28 teams in the three Elite Groups of Vijay Hazare Trophy had failed to register a single win in their first fi­ve matches.

Published: 02nd October 2018 02:20 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd October 2018 04:34 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

CHENNAI:Only four of the 28 teams in the three Elite Groups of Vijay Hazare Trophy had failed to register a single win in their first fi­ve matches. Team Rajasthan was one of the three — others be­­ing Jammu & Kashmir and As­­sam — from Group C on that list. But on Monday, Rajasthan de­cided to change their fortu­n­es and ended their winless run by beating Assam by 56 ru­ns at MA Chidambaram Stadium.

Manender Singh

There were two talking points fr­om the match from Raja­sth­a­n’s point of view. Firstly, their batsmen batted 50 overs for the first time in this tournament, courtesy Manender Singh’s 101. And they posted 217, after having averaged 116.6 in the first five games. Secondly, four seni­ors players including skipper Ashok Menaria were dropped for the rest of the tournament before this match. Back from the Asia Cup, Deepak Chahar was asked to lead the side.

According to coach Amit Asawa, the senior players — Menaria, Aniket Choudhary, Ankit Lamba, Robin Bist — were dropped because of below-par performances. But Aniket, who captained the side last season, can consider himself unlu­c­ky as the left-arm pacer played only against Jharkhand and did not bowl a single delivery until the match ended just 15 overs into the second half.

“When the team doesn’t do well, there are bound to be changes,” says Asawa. “We felt the combination was not right and hence we could not win ev­e­n a single match. This doesn’t mean the players who were dropped are not good. It’s just that they were not in form and we thought we should give opportunities to others. We wanted to test our bench too. Also, when you have a player like Manender, he can be used anywhere in the batting line-up. He opened the innings in the last match and today, we sent him at No 3 and he scored a century.”

The four players called in were Abhijit Tomar, Yash Kothari, Salman Khan and Rajesh Bishnoi. All of them had little to no experience of playing as a regular. While opening batsman Tomar made his List A debut on Monday, left-arm spinner Bishnoi was called back after a year. Though Asawa cites not finding the right combination was the reason why they revamped the side, Rajasthan’s message to the players was simple: perform and hold on to your spot. Even if it is for senior players.

Chahar influence

One of the other aspects that the coach felt was the reason behind their win was Chahar’s approach. “Deepak is very suppo­r­tive as a captain. After coming back from the national team, he shared his experience and told players to take one game at a time. Obviously, there will be a difference when he says and when I say. He has gained some exposure at the international level and I think his words had an impact on the players’ mind.”With new faces determined to erase the past, Rajasthan will look to carry this momentum into the remaining matches and look to cause an upset or two.

Stay up to date on all the latest Cricket news with The New Indian Express App. Download now


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp