In November of 2005,when West Zone lifted the Duleep Trophy for the 15th time since the zonal tournaments inception in 1961-62,Parthiv Patel and Zaheer Khan ended up becoming the biggest beneficiaries by winning recalls to the Indian team. Ramesh Powar,too,joined his team mates soon after because Harbhajan Singh was ruled out due to injury.
As they posted a comprehensive 274-run victory over South Zone at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Monday,Wasim Jaffer & Co might have had little trouble compared to their narrow win against East three seasons ago. But an elevation to the national team may not be a natural fallout for players of the winning team because of the stacked shelf at the highest level. Parthiv,who scored a timely 131 in the second innings,may still manage to slip in as second wicketkeeper/third opener for the New Zealand tour,but it is unlikely that Powars match-winning 10-wicket haul will sway the selectors this time around.
The portly off-spinner from Mumbai had accounted for opener Murali Vijay and Rahul Dravid late on the fourth day,and took the crucial wicket of Dinesh Karthik hit-wicket for 75 on Monday morning. Powar then broke a gritty 58-run stand between R Ashwin and M Suresh to pick up his 20th five-wicket haul in his 100th first-class match. Shadab Jakati and Sreesanth were soon added to the list and he ended up with second-innings figures of 7-140 in 38 overs.
Spinners from both sides came in for criticism for their inability to prosper on a turning wicket. But Powar said that the Kookuburra ball was the main culprit for that. If we were using an SG ball here,it would have been a three-day match at the most, he said after the match.
While Dhawal Kulkarni hogged the limelight for being the joint-highest wicket-taker with 42 in his debut season,Powar wheeled away in the background,picking up crucial wickets and ending up with 34 as Mumbai won the Ranji Trophy. Dhawal was doing bulk of the work at the top of the order,and making things easier for me, Powar said modestly before adding that making a comeback to the national team was his sole motivation. Whenever we needed wickets,he ended up with a five-wicket haul. And 10 wickets in such a big final is always a special achievement, captain Jaffer said of Powar.
One disappointing aspect of Mumbais successful campaign was the lack of an able spinning-partner for Powar. Because of Twenty20 cricket,there arent too many genuine spinners coming up the ranks. But there are a few talented ones at the under-16 and under-18 levels,which is promising, Powar said.
Conventional or orthodox are words that are often used to describe Powars bowling,and he is adamant that despite the influx of the shortest format of the game,his style will remain uninhibited. Flight is the essence of any spinner. The most important thing with my bowling is the way I read the batsmans footwork before I deliver the ball. That will never change.
West Zone 1st innings 459,South Zone 1st innings 199
West Zone 2nd innings 417/8 decl
South Zone 2nd innings (overnight 232/3): M Vijay c Patel b Powar 63,R Uthappa c Trivedi b Pawar 94,S Badrinath c Powar b Pawar 59,R Dravid b Powar 0,D Karthik hit wicket b Powar 75,A Yadav c Pawar b Powar 14,R Ashwin not out 46,M Suresh b Powar 28,S Jakati lbw b Powar 4,S Sreesanth c Rahane b Powar 4,R Vinay Kumar absent hurt; Extras (b 12,lb 1,w 2,nb 1) 16; Total (all out; 100 overs) 403; FoW: 1-165,2-167,3-167,4-288,5-312,
6-319,7-377,8-399,9-403; Bowling: D Kulkarni 17-3-75-0,S Trivedi 16-3-51-0,R Pawar 26-1-112-2,R Powar 38-9-140-7,A Nayar 3-0-12-0