The Ajinkya Rahane-led Mumbai team will aim for their third outright win of the season when they clash with Assam in their Elite Group ‘B’ Ranji Trophy match at the Amingaon Cricket Ground in Guwahati today. And Mumbai speedster Tushar Deshpande reckons it won’t be an easy talk to overcome the hosts.
Debut for Amingaon ground
The Amingaon ground is making its first-class ‘debut’ and the black-soiled pitch, believed to be bereft of grass, is likely to help the batsmen. Because of the early sunrise (around 5.30am) and sunset (4.15pm), the game will start at 8.30 am. The cold weather appears to be another challenge for the visiting team. After four matches, Saurashtra lead Group ‘B’ with 19 points. Mumbai are placed second with 16, while Assam has 11 from four games.
“Assam are a good team. They are playing at home and can be dangerous. So, without taking the opposition lightly, if we play good cricket, assess the situation quickly, it will help. We have hardly played in Assam in the last five years and this being the first match on this pitch, it is tough to predict how the strip will behave,” Deshpande told mid-day from Guwahati on Monday.
However Deshpande, who claimed 5-37 to bowl out Tamil Nadu for 144 in the first innings of the last game in Mumbai, said he is ready for the tough conditions. “Even when I am not getting any kind of support from the pitch, I try to motivate myself to get wickets. I always see it as a challenge to claim three-four wickets when we play on such pitches.
“When spinners are getting all the help from the pitch and the ball literally fails to reach the wicketkeeper because of low bounce, I think I need to be prepared for it and come up with another plan. It will give you the ultimate delight when you perform in tough conditions. On such pitches, I always try to be more disciplined, build pressure and get the batsman out by setting a specific plan for him,” he remarked.
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45 scalps in the season
Deshpande has claimed 15 wickets in four games and aims to end up with 45 scalps in the season. “I am happy, but I need to take more wickets. My aim is to play the full season and take 40-45 wickets. We won the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy this season in which I was India’s third highest wicket-taker with 17. If I help Mumbai win the Ranji Trophy with my target of 40-45 wickets, I will be really pleased and then I can say I am ready for the next level,” he said.