His body is not designed in a way that would enable him to bowl at express pace but Rajneesh Gurbani is not exactly a trundler-in-chief either. The thinly-built 24-year-old from Vidarbha can swing it both ways, lands the red cherry on the seam, gets the ball to jag back prodigiously and, above all, has a big heart. A qualified civil engineer, Gurbani doesn’t mind the strenuous exercise regime — both physical and mental.
After his match-winning 12-wicket haul against Karnataka, Gurbani rocked Delhi with a hat-trick on the second morning of the Ranji Trophy final, helping his team make its way into the match here. Gurbani finished with 6 for 59 as Delhi managed only 295 in their first innings.
“I would like to increase the pace and will work as per the instructions of the trainer. Normally, we start training three months before the season, but this time we have started a month before. The program is like one day gym and one day endurance. I know I have to improve a lot in fitness,” Gurbani said after the day’s final at the Holkar Stadium. The bowler, who returned figures of six for 59, said he was made aware of the possibility of taking a rare hat-trick by “someone” from the crowd.
“I forgot that I was in with a chance to take a hat-trick. Having picked up the first two wickets in the fifth and sixth balls (of 101st over), when I was going to start my next over, somebody from the public reminded that I was on a hat-trick. Then I realized,” he said.
“With every ball the intent was to take wicket. By God’s grace I have done that. As far as the hat-trick ball was concerned, the plan was to bowl at the stumps.” Wasim Jaffer and Faiz Fazal guided Vidarbha to 206 for four after Gurbani helped his side bowl out Delhi for 295. He said he prefers to bowl with the new ball.
“I was not well yesterday so I was not able to bowl a lot. I was preparing overnight that I am able to bowl the first over today. I prefer the new ball but with this SG Test, the old ball swings a lot. “And whenever it starts to behave that way I tend to do well and they (batsmen) become vulnerable.”
Though their opponents are 89 runs behind, Delhi seamer Akash Sudan felt his team was still in a good position. Playing in only his second first-class game, Sudan picked up two wickets. “We are in a good position, we have fought back. Now, we are hoping to restrict them before 295. Now, we have fought back. They are four down, and two more wickets early tomorrow and match will turn our way. Our first spell was not that good.
“The pitch has changed a bit, it has turned up. It’s coming on to the bat. On the first day, the wicket was helping the seamers but now it is coming on to the bat. But our bowlers are maintaining a good length.” Asked about Gurbani, Sudan said: “He bowled extremely well. The length he was bowling was really good. He was moving the ball both ways, so that was good to see.”