Vidarbha’s dream season has just got better. After pipping Karnataka in a nail-biter, they are just one step away from the ultimate prize in domestic cricket. Skipper Faiz Fazal has been one of the catalysts of the transformation. Though he didn’t contribute much with bat in the semifinal, he has led the way for his side throughout the campaign. Fazal talked to The Indian Express after the victory:
Were there any nerves in the middle on the final day?
Definitely. The last three batsmen could bat. It was always in our mind that we have to be really tight. You can’t just give away easy runs. But to be honest, the bowlers and the fielders kept their nerve. We knew we had to be really calm in that situation. So, by God’s grace, we stopped them.
What was the squad’s mentality against a team like Karnataka?
Throughout the season, we have been very clear-minded. With due respect, we are not looking for any names or any teams, (we will face) whoever comes in front of us. Karnataka is a great side. They have great homegrown talent. But the way we are playing the whole season, we are really confident. The whole bunch is really motivated to win the trophy and we can do anything to achieve that. If the whole team thinks in one direction, the goal can be achieved.
What was your gameplan coming into the match?
In a five-day match, even on a green track, when you bat first, you always have the rare possibility of making a comeback. And that’s what happened. They took a 115-run lead in the first innings, but it didn’t matter. We knew we could make a comeback. We batted really well in the second innings and then the bowlers did their job.
Your take on Rajneesh Gurbani’s efforts…
Rajneesh has been exceptional throughout this season. He is sticking to his plans. He does not complicate things and keeps it very simple. He is a really hardworking bowler. I am really happy for him. Whenever we needed him to perform, he delivered. Other bowlers supported him really well. Umesh Yadav was really good. He also got 4 wickets in the first innings and got the crucial wicket of Mayank Agarwal in the second. I was really confident of the bowling unit, but we knew we had to stick to the plans.
Vidarbha has reached its maiden Ranji final. What is the feeling in the unit right now? How do you feel?
We are really happy to reach the final. But the task is not yet over. We have to go higher and higher. One more game to go, and it’s a really big game. That’s what we are working really hard for, the trophy. Hopefully, we’ll achieve the goal. But right now, we are really happy to be in the final after that amazing win. We are really happy for each other.