For Railways, it was a throw-back to old days when the players and coach of the team would hunt for accommodation before a Ranji Trophy match near the Karnail Singh Stadium. Thanks to the newly-appointed cricket co-ordinator, Sanjay Kumar, a non-sports officer from Rail Bhawan, utter chaos ruled at the venue as the Railways players concentrated more on off-the-field activities.
Players lugging their bags around even as some of them went hotel-hunting showed the co-ordinator in poor light. The co-ordinator is learnt to have come in for scathing criticism from match referee Chinmay Sharma for not even being aware that he would have to appoint an anti-corruption officer for the match.
For Railways, as it is, the season had begun on a harsh note with the team finishing at the bottom of the Vijay Hazare tournament — 36th in a field of 37. For an outfit which had won the Ranji Trophy and Irani Cup, this was a huge slide.
Skipper Mahesh Rawat, however, was optimistic of the team doing well. “We didn’t do well in Vijay Hazare but this competition is different. Not that we are low on motivation but we have our limitations.
“Also, we are playing in the Elite group, which means we are a team which belongs to this level. I know we have a strong opponent but we are ready. We have a youngster (Harsh Tyagi) who is ready to take the step from a boy to man. I have lot of confidence in this team,” said Rawat.
Mumbai has come in with a depleted combination. Skipper Dhawal Kulkarni reflected: “It was a good Vijay Hazare season for us, it was a needed win. We won it after 12 years, so it was a big boost for us.
“Talking about the season ahead, we need to get back the championship.
“That is what we are looking for as a team. We have match-winners as well as young guys who are looking to do well.”
The pitch is expected to be low and slow and technique would come into play a lot on such a surface while patience will be the key for success.
Utter chaos ruled at the venue as the Railways players concentrated more on off-the-field activities
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