Vasavada follows Pujara school of batsmanship to put Saurashtra on brink of Ranji final

Frustrated at their inability to get him out, Karnataka fielders decided to sledge Saurashtra captain Arpit Vasavada. “Six toh maar, kitna six ab tak mara hai, bhai? Record improve kar (Hit a six, how many have you hit till now, brother? Improve your record).”

But not once did Vasavada react. Probably, the Karnataka players didn’t know that the left-handed batsman hails from the same school of batsmanship as Cheteshwar Pujara. Pujara’s father Arvind also coached Vasavada. Hence, it was no surprise that after a while, the fielders gave up, realising there was no point wasting energy on him.

Resuming at 112 on the fourth morning of the Ranji Trophy semifinal, Vasavada went on to score 202 off 406 balls, never showing any need for urgency. “Karnataka players tried to distract me but a time came when they realised that it was of no use. So they stopped. Batting for so long is nothing new. I know how to score runs. I’m never in a hurry. The other day, I took 25 balls to get my first run. In the long format, one has to wait, let the opponent get tired and then score runs,” Vasavada said after the day’s play.

Saurashtra were chasing Karnataka’s 407 runs. They started the fourth day on 364/4 after Vasavada and Sheldon Jackson had hogged limelight with centuries on day three. They needed 44 runs for the vital first-innings lead.

Vasavada and all-rounder Chirag Jani ensured Saurashtra took the upper hand. Jani made 72 as Saurashtra posted 527, a lead of 120 runs. They are without their star players Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravindra Jadeja and Jaydev Unadkat, but have a strong team spirit.

Vasavada feels that everyone does their job, which is the main reason the team has done well. “Many won’t have heard the players’ names, but all of them just perform their roles. We have a lower order that can bat, which is a big help. All the players want to perform on the big stage. After all, many don’t have IPL contracts so the Ranji Trophy is where they can show their talent and get exposure,” he adds. At stumps, Karnataka were 123 for 4 in their second innings, a lead of three runs. Left-arm pacer Chetan Sakariya got two wickets – opener R Samarth and Devdutt Padikkal – while left-arm spinner Dharmendrasinh Jadeja got the crucial wicket of Mayank Agarwal. Manish Pandey was trapped in front by Parth Bhut.

Saurashtra know the job is not done yet. The hosts will set them a target on the final day as they chase a favourable result.

“The match is not over yet. We can’t take things lightly as our work is not done. We know that Karnataka will give us a total to chase, we hope it won’t be a big one,” Vasavada added.

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