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Suspect action by pacer puts Maharashtra in a spot

Sachin Chaudhari set to miss at least next two rounds of Ranji Trophy.

Written by Chinmay Brahme | Pune |
November 21, 2013 5:36:45 am

Though the Maharashtra side has an important Ranji Trophy game to play on Thursday,much of the attention and the energies of the coaching staff seemed to be focused on a single player. Ironically,this particular player will play no part in Maharashtra’s match against Goa beginning on Thursday and there is also a possibility that he might have to forego an entire season of First Class cricket.

Coach Surendra Bhave,Maharashtra Cricket Association’s cricket director Shaun Williams and video analyst Amol Undale busied themselves with Sachin Chaudhari on Wednesday. The 27-year-old had been called for a suspect action in Maharashtra’s second match against Hyderabad. With BCCI protocol stating that once a bowler is called for a suspect action by the on-field umpires,he cannot bowl till his action is scrutinised and cleared by an expert committee.

Judging by the attention showered on Chaudhari on Thursday,it was evident that a prominent objective of the Maharashtra think-tank was to get Chaudhari’s action cleared as soon as possible and get the lanky bowler fire his thunderbolts at the opposition batsmen. Chaudhari scalped 11 wickets in the first match of the season against Tripura.

“It is important that we expedite Sachin’s case. Shaun (Williams) has spent a lot of time with Sachin,he has made a few adjustments to his action and we are confident that there is nothing wrong with his action. We have video footage of him bowling,and at the most his arm has a bend of six degrees,well within the 15-degree limit. Importantly,even with the adjustments,Sachin has not lost his pace,which is an important asset,” said Bhave.

The Maharashtra Cricket Association has already prepared a report,containing video and still photography analysis of Chaudhari’s action. A date for a hearing with the three-member expert committee has not been set yet,but the support staff is hopeful of an early resolution to the case.

However,the three-member committee,comprising Srinivas Venkatraghavan,A V Jayaprakash and Javagal Srinath will conduct their own independent assessment of Chaudhari’s action,suggest remedial measures if possible and then make a ruling. The procedure will,however,ensure that the pacer will miss out at least on the next two rounds of the Ranji Trophy.

For Thursday though,Maharashtra will have to do without the policeman from Jalgaon,with Dominic Muthuswamy most likely to take his place. Coach Bhave put up a brave face,saying he was confident that his other bowlers would deliver.

“We have a good bowling attack. Akshay Darekar has started finding a little bit of form. He is bowling in the right areas,getting the ball to turn and surprise the batsmen. I am sure that the guys can rise to the task,” he said.

Maharashtra currently sit in third spot on the group C table,having garnered seven points from their two matches. Their opponents,Goa,are second from bottom,with just one point from two games. Goa’s coach,former Sri Lankan fast bowler,Nuwan Zoysa,said that not much should be read into his side’s start.

“We haven’t started great but we have improved steadily. The last game (against Jammu and Kashmir) which we lost narrowly,could have gone either way. However,we are a good unit who can hold their own against a good team on a given day. We have some good youngsters,especially Keenan Vaz,Amogh Desai and Harshad Gadekar are guys who have shown quite some promise. Maharashtra will be a tough test with the batting line-up that they have,we will have to focus hard for all four days. However,I believe that we can put up a strong challenge,” said Zoysa.

The Sri Lankan said his side would be banking on two experienced spinners Shadab Jakati and Amit Yadav. “Our batting unit is also showing good signs. We have senior players like Swapnil Asnodkar and Ravikant Shukla and I hope these guys come good for us,” he said.

Vijay Zol,who scored a scintillating unbeaten 200 the last time he played at the MCA stadium,will open the batting for Maharashtra on Thursday. Zol,who batted at number three in Maharashtra’ opening two games,will receive his promotion due to Chirag Khurana’s absence. Khurana will be part of the Maharashtra under-25 team,playing an away game in West Bengal. Sangram Atitkar,who scored 98 in the last game,will be taking Zol’s place at number three.

Fielding,especially catching and ground fielding,has been a major concern for Maharashtra over the past couple of seasons. Dropped catches,missed run-outs and at times general lethargy in the field have contributed in pegging the team back. In the Hyderabad game,two catches were dropped adding to the two dropped against Tripura and skipper Rohit Motwani missing a straightforward run-out attempt. Bhave said fielding was something that the coaching staff had looked at closely.

“It is important that we tighten up as a fielding unit. Dropping a couple of catches in every match is just unacceptable. We have worked hard on our ground fielding,we have ensured that all our fielders have worked intensively on their catching and I am hoping for an improved show from here on,” he said.

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