While travelling to Ranji Trophy games across India,the Vidarbha bunch must have taken various connecting flights from Mumbai to reach small cities plodding through their league fixtures. Surely,some would have wondered when they would finally get to play against Mumbai at the iconic Wankhede Stadium.
As Vidarbha astoundingly drawn to play Mumbai for the first time ever underwent their long session at the Wankhede,their former coach Sulakshan Kulkarni now with Mumbai and current coach Sairaj Bahutule,a former Mumbai leggie,discussed this long-due face-off between the two state teams at length. The Vidarbha boys were suitably star-struck,trying to soak up all they could of Mumbais cricketing culture.
Umesh Yadav shared the mood in the visitors dressing room before the game they are all looking forward to. I have played here but many of them havent,so it will be an exciting game for all us. Weve all heard stories about Mumbai and their cricket,it will now be time to face them. It will certainly help our team,and we are not thinking about the result but the experience gained, Yadav told The Indian Express.
Vidarbha might have displayed average performances so far — with one win,one loss and two draws. However,many of them will get a chance to face Zaheer Khan and probably to bowl to domestic giants Wasim Jaffer and Ajinkya Rahane.
With Yadav and Shrikant Wagh,Vidarbha have the new-ball edge. But it is their batting that remains a concern. Apart from Faiz Fazal and Shalabh Shrivastav,no one has managed to score big runs. Bahutule admits that his team is still developing,but it is a big moment for them because they will be up against the reigning champions. Fazal had played Mumbai when he was with Railways whereas Hemang Badani,former India cricketer,too has witnessed many clashes in the past.
Skill wise,Mumbai is better than us as we are still a developing side. We believe in the team,and the players here are hard working. Its a fantastic moment for all players because they have seen players from Mumbai only on TV. Its the first time they will play against Zak (Zaheer),Wasim,Ajinkya, Bahutule explains.
However,the match will see many others focussed on the big picture. Zaheer,Rahane and Yadav will be flying to South Africa soon after finishing the four-day game and they will certainly hope to go back with a few moments in their kit-bag. For every fast bowler,match practice is very important. There will be a lot of bounce on the South African wickets,so this match against Mumbai will be good preparation on a probably helpful wicket, he said.
Mumbai will be looking for an outright win,for they will be without Zaheer and Rahane for the coming month. However for Vidarbha,it will be the chance to see a few rising stars at the Wankhede.