Thursday, March 12, 2009

IPL Elation

Two state boys - left-arm seamer Jitendra Patil and dashing batsman Kedar Jadhav make it to Bangalore Royal Challengers team

Suhrid Barua, Pune Mirror, March 9 ,2008

Playing for the country is the ultimate dream of any youngster. But getting an opportunity to play in the Indian Premier League is equally a ‘significant’ step towards furthering the career of a youngster. And two state cricketers from Maharashtra - left-arm seamer Jitendra Patil and dashing top-order Kedar Jadhav have surely taken a huge ‘career stride’ after both were named in the Bangalore Royal Challengers side.
Jitendra, who has been the most-talked about in the state cricket circuit for his ability to generate decent pace, made it to the main team of Bangalore Royal Challengers while Kedar made the cut for BRC’s developmental or rookie team."I’m pleased with the news. I’ve worked very hard for the last three days in the trials and very glad that the Bangalore Royal Challengers think-tank have given me the opportunity to play for them," said a jubilant Jitendra who plays for Jalgaon District Cricket Association in the MCA Invitation League.
Jitendra has won an one-year contract and will look at the prospect of bowling alongside the likes of Dale Steyn and Nathan Bracken. "It will be a rich learning curve for me. Steyn is one the best bowlers around while I’ve a lot to learn from Nathan Bracken who is also a left-arm bowler like me," said Jiyendra, who is expected to get his contract during the Deodhar Trophy tourney in Cuttack.
And for Kedar Jadhav, there’s no such regret at missing out of the main team. "I’m thrilled to bits at getting this opportunity. I am not feeling bad just because I’m in the development team and not in the main team. If I deliver, I know I can make it to the main team," he oozes confidence.
Though it couldn’t be confirmed about the monetary details, it is learnt that Jitendra should get a contract which would fetch him Rs 20 lakhs for the season while Kedar is likely to take home 8 lakh for an one-year contract.
SO, WHO MADE IT, WHO DIDN’T
*Jitendra Patil was the surprise package among all the names bandied about playing in the IPL. He may not have much to show for in terms of wickets, but his ability to generate decent pace made a strong case for his selection
* Kedar Jadhav was heavily tipped to make it the cut as his power-packed batting is ideally suited for the slam-bang format. The fact that he has earned a place in the developmental team and not in the main team shouldn’t be disappoint him as being mere part of the BRC team is in itself no small achievement
*Aditya Dole was with the Maharashtra Ranji Trophy side for the whole season though he didn’t play in all the matches. He has got a three-year contract with Kolkata Knight Riders though the status of whether he will be in the main team or in the developmental team will be known later this month
* Harshad Khadiwale was flown in as third player to take the BRC trials but failed to make the cut. A silken touch player, Harshad has been in rollicking form in the Ranji one-dayers leading from the front. He definitely has age on his side to make it in future
* Ameya Shrikhande had a fabulous run in the four-day Ranji Trophy this season amassing over 500 runs. But a disappointing show in the Ranji ODIs scuppered his chances. Like Harshad, he too has age on his side to make the cut in future for the kind of talent he possesses

Eye-catching Combo

Meet IEMD cagers Atul Patil and Ruben Khabade, who are the tallest and shortest players of the ongoing Dunkyard 2009 Inter-College Basketball Tournament

Suhrid Barua, Pune Mirror, March 9, 2008

They perhaps are not even aware that they make quite a combo when they ply their skills on the basketball court. Meet the Institute of Management and Entrepreneurship Development (IMED) cagers Atul Patil and Ruben Khabade, who have formed a rare combination of being the tallest and shortest players, that too from the same side in the ongoing Dunkyard 2009 Inter-College Basketball Tournament.
While Atul is six feet six inches taller, Ruben is the shortest at five feet four inches. Ask the duo about it, and the bashful side of the duo surfaces. "The fact that the tallest and shortest players of the tournament are from the same side arouses interest among one and all. People curiously ask us how we happen to play together," says Atul, who has been caging with Ruben, since both hail from the same hamlet of Miraj in Sangli district.
"Sometimes, people who came to watch our matches seem to see the funny side of us playing together. Atul plays as a pivot while I play as a feeder and we know each other well since we turn out for the same club Miraj Youth Developmental Centre.
So, who are their role models? Both of them open up. "Michael Johnson is my idol. The way he dunks make me crazy. His playing style is sheer magic," says Atul while Ruben goes gung-ho over Kobe Bryant. "Kobe Bryant is one of the best among the contemporary lot. His dribbling and shooting skills are awesome."The only sour note is their quarterfinal exit from the tourney. "It was a close affair, it could have gone either way but BVCOE had the last laugh," both added in unison.

Spinning a web

How often do we see two spinners take six wickets in an one-dayer? But VIIT’s Piyush Taru and DY Patil College’s Kapil Deol achieved that in the Sankarrao Kawre Memorial Inter-Engineering Cricket Tournament

Suhrid Barua, Pune Mirror, March 7, 2008

The league match between DY Patil College (Akurdi) and VIIT in the 16th Sankarrao Kawre Memorial Inter-Engineering Cricket Tournament, was an edge-of-the-seat thriller but that took a backseat with eye-catching performances of two spinners, who achieved not many accomplished names have even attained in international cricket.VIIT’s Piyush Taru and DY Patil’s Kapil Deol bowled splendidly on the matting wicket at the ILS Law College ground, reaping an impressive haul of six wickets apiece in a match in which VIIT scrambled home by one wicket.
DY Patil made first use of the wicket and were bowled out for 99 in 28.4 overs with Piyush taking 6 for 9 off 7.2 overs. And when it VIIT’s turn to chase down the score of 99, they were forced to make a heavy weather of the smallish score, by Kapil Deol who captured 6 for 15. Mind you, it’s not an everyday occurrence to see two spinners grab six wickets in a match, that too in a one-dayer. “I kept flighting the ball as I knew that the DY Patil batsmen were not comfortable with it. I was getting appreciable turn from the deck and that helped,” said the shy, mild-mannered second-year VIIT student.
The boy on the losing side, despite his six-wicket haul, Kapil Deol, feels he did nothing ‘extraordinary’. “I don’t think that I bowled anything ‘special’. Indicretion overwhelmed the VIIT batsmen.. They were probably expecting me to flight the ball but I was smart enough not to oblige them and kept delivering the quicker balls,” quips Kapil.
And what’s more, they are both left-arm spinners. “We both are left-arm spinners but Piyush relies a lot on his flight to take wickets while I like bowling the lower trajectory ones. But I feel that Piyush is a better bowler than me,” says Kapil, a compliment something Piyush is not sure of. “I’m not sure whether I am a better bowler than Kapil. The important thing is that both of us did our job for our side. It’s so unfortunate that Kapil had to be on the losing side despite taking six wickets, which is a creditable achievement in any level of the game,” Piyush signs off.

Pace-Spin

Maharashtra Academy of Engineering’s Rishikesh Singh combined seam and leg-spin bowling to take 4 -61 as ILS Law College were all out for 212
Suhrid Barua, Pune Mirror, March 5, 2008
Maharashtra Academy of Engineering, Alandi’s all-seam attack in the Damodar Karandak Inter-College Cricket Tournament has been well documented to be delved into. And on Tuesday, MAE side employed a spinner for the first time. No, he isn’t any regular spinner but medium-pacer Rishikesh Singh, one of the six seamers in the side, who also bowls leg-spin.Rishikesh’s combination of medium-pace and leg-spin bowling panned out to be a boon for the MAE side as the 21-year-old emerged as the pick of the MAE bowlers finishing with 4 for 61 to help his side halt ILS Law College’s first innings at 212 in the final game at the Varroc Vengsarkar Academy ground.
"I normally do bowl a bit of leg-spin on turf wickets but on matting wickets I mainly bowl medium-pace because there is not much purchase for the spinners on matting wickets," explains Rishikesh. "Today we got a turf wicket and I thought of bowling leg-spin and it worked out fine for me." Interestingly, Rishikesh started the day bowling medium-pace but after two overs switched to leg-spin. "I wasn’t get any help from the wicket. So I choose to bowl leg-spin which fetched me rich dividends as I got rid of Anurag Kapur and Babu Shankar.
"Rishikesh not just scalped two wickets off leg-spin bowling, but also added two more with medium-pace towards the fag end of the day and denied a deserving fiver when ILS’s last batsman got run out. I would have been happy to get a five-wicket haul but it’s fine with me, my team has bowled out the opposition for 212 which is more important," Rishikesh added.

Getting Noticed


Bangalore Royal Challengers call up Kedar Jadhav and Jitendra Patilfor selection trials

Suhrid Barua, Pune Mirror, March 3, 2008

It’s an open secret that city players are on the selection radar ofthe Indian Premier League (IPL) teams. It was widely believed thatscouts of various IPL teams were in Rajkot during the Ranji Trophyone-dayers to have a close look at some of our cricketers.Delhi Daredevils was talked about as the team that was keeping an eyeon our players.
But on Monday, the scenario took a new turn with the Bangalore Royal Challengers asking two State cricketers - dashingtop-order batsman Kedar Jadhav and promising left-arm seamer JitendraPatil to attend the three-day selections trials to be held in Bangalore.“Bangalore Royal Challengers got in touch with me and asked for permission from MCA to allow Kedar and Jitendra to take part in the selection trials to be held in Bangalore on March 7, 8 and 9,” informed Ranji Trophy selection committee chairman Pandurang Salgaonkar.
Ask him about the Delhi Daredevils evincing interest in some of thecity boys and Salgaonkar professed his ignorance. “I have tried to getin touch with Delhi Daredevils’ T A Shekhar but I’m yet to hearanything concrete from him,” he said.The former fast bowler feels both Kedar and Jitendra stand a goodchance of making the cut. “Let’s hope for the best. My gut feeling isthat they both will make the cut,” he fired an optimistic parting shot.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Back in Business

After a disastrous run in the Ranji Trophy one-dayers at Rajkot, wherehe failed to reach double-figures in all the four innings, AmeyaShrikhande bounced back in style clubbing a rollicking ton for IncomeTax against United Cricket Club

Suhrid Barua, Pune Mirror, February 26, 2009

Cricket can be a great leveller. One moment you could be perched ontop while at another moment you can plunge to a low. Within a matterof a couple of months, Ameya Shrikhande seems to have realised howthat famous dictum holds true. After a phenomenal season in thefour-day Ranji Trophy for Maharashtra, where he amassed 571 runs(including three hundreds against Tamil Nadu, Baroda and Railways) atan impressive average of 51.90, the right-handed strokemakerexperienced the blues with the willow, managing just 27 runs at a paltry average of 6.75 in four innings in the Ranji Trophy one-dayers recently.
"The Ranji Trophy four-day games went well for me. I got three hundreds and was feeling pleased to have contributed when my teamrequired the most, but in the Ranji one-dayers in Rajkot Iunfortunately missed out," says the youngster nonchalantly.
So did he indulge in any kind of soul-searching to decipher as to what went wrong with his batting in the Ranji one-dayers in Rajkot where hefailed to reach double-figures in all the four innings? "I cannot saythat there was any single factor for my lean run with the bat in Rajkot. I got run out in the first game and perished cheaply in the next three matches. I guess one has to learn from failures and emergestronger, I’m just doing that," Shrikhande talks with a fair amount ofmaturity.
The city lad seems to have learnt his lessons quickly as he vanquished his bad patch and blazed his way to a swashbuckling 120 off only 122balls, punctuated with seventeen fours and two sixes for Income Taxagainst United Cricket Club in the MCA Open Invitational League.
Interestingly, Shrikhande’s century was the lone three-figure score inthe entire slot of last week’s of matches. So double elation for notjust returning to run-making ways but Ranji one-dayers," he says witha satisfied tone.
How about all the talk going around about some of the Pune boys beingin the running for a berth in IPL teams? "I’m hearing it from thenewspapers only. Let’s hope some of our boys make it, it will be goodfor the game in the state," he signed off.

Non-city Flavour

The entire MCA team, champions of the Cadence Trophy, comprises players from the districts
Suhrid Barua, Pune Mirror, February 24, 2009

The Cadence Trophy champions MCA have an ‘interesting’ look about their team. The 13-member squad doesn’t feature a single player from Pune. A peruse of the team’s roster is an eye-opener because the entire team is made up of players from districts like Aurangabad, Jalgaon, Latur, Jalna, Ratnagiri, Sawantwadi, Sangli and Nashik. "Our entire squad is made up of players from the districts. Our team management zeroed in on the best players from the districts and the title win is an indication of the talent the district players possess," said MCA team manager Sharad Belsare.
Belsare, who was part of the Maharashtra Ranji squad under the captaincy of Chandu Borde in the early seventies, though he never figured in the playing XI, feels the ‘sincerity’ and ‘dedication’ of the district players has to be seen to be believed. "These boys know that if they don’t perform, they will find it hard to stay in the selection reckoning and that is why they have the fierce drive to excel," Belsare explains.
But one couldn't resist the temptation of asking him whether it was a well laid-out strategy not to include city boys in the MCA team? "Nothing like that. As I said before, our team management picked the best from the districts. Also, the availability of the Pune boys was a factor as most of them turned out in this tournament for other teams like Deccan Gymkhana, PYC, Poona Club and Cadence," Belsare added.
MCA teamJagdish Jope (Jalgaon)Imran Pathan (Hingoli)Vikas Nirfal (Latur)Abhishek Rao (Nashik)Ajay Kale (Aurangabad)Summet Swami (Aurangabad)Prashant Kore (Sangli)Hrishikesh Kale (Jalna)Mayur Khaire (Ratnagiri)Piyush Sawant (Sawantwadi)Pranab Kale (Aurangabad)Ashish Deshmukh (Jalna)Aditya Shinde (Ratnagiri)

Power of Six

Maharashtra Academy of Engineering, Alandi, team doesn’t believe inthe ‘spin’ factor as they have a six-pronged seam attack which isdoing the job for them

Suhrid Barua, Pune Mirror, February 24, 2009
Most teams tend to bank on spin bowlers to do the job for them or atleast play a supporting role in the success of a team. ButMaharashtra Acad-emy of Engineering, Alandi, team are refreshinglydifferent. This team doesn’t believe in the ‘spin factor’.The MAE outfit relies heavily on its seamers - they have employed asmany as six medium-pacers in each match and the team hasn’t done badlyat all, racking up their sixth consecutive vic-tory after pippingMAEERS Arts, Sci-ence, Commerce College in the ongoing DamodarKarandak Cricket Tournament to book a final date with ILS LawCollege.
The MAE side operates with new ball bowlers - right-arm bowler HarshitDev and left-arm seamer Dhruv Vaghasis. Rahul Ranjan, Rishikesh Singh,Vinay Tomar and skipper Ankit Jain make up the all-seam attack.“We have a squad of fourteen players. We have six seamers playing inall the matches. We don’t have a spinner in our team,” reveals MAE captain Ankit Jain, who wrecked MAEERS Arts, Science, Commerce Collegewith a bo-dacious five-wicket haul.
So, was the ploy to go with an all-seam attack in every match adeliber-ate strategy? “Not all,” says Ankit. “It’s sheer coincidence.We never planned it that way. It just so happened that our bowlingattack revolves around the seamers.”But was the presence of a spinner missed by his team? “Not really.This is our sixth consecutive romp and all our bowlers have deliveredwhen it mattered in every match. The impressive performance of ourseamers have never made us feel the absence of a tweaker,” Ankitobserved.
The MAE captain does agree that not having a spinner in its rank canserve as a surprise element for their oppo-nents. “Most of the time,opponents would not know what to expect. Every time the new ball bowlers are taken off the attack and the first, second or third choicebowlers are brought into the attack, opponents would eagerly wait tosee a spinner to roll his arm over as they can anticipate going forthe top but with us no team can harbour the prospect of facing aspinner,” he explains.

Champion Stuff

New Zealand coach David Trist feels Dhoni's men have enough firepower to pip the Kiwis in their own backyard

Suhrid Barua, Pune Mirror, February 22, 2009

David Trist has achieved a fair amount of success during his stint as New Zealand coach - the big one being guiding the Black Caps to glory in the 2000 ICC KnockOut Trophy in Nairobi.So when a man of his coaching pedigree talks, one is only overwhelmed with rapt attention. With the upcoming India's tour of New Zealand round the corner, the confabulation had to veer towards the much-awaited series.
The 2002-03 tour of New Zealand was a disaster for Team India where the conditions were heavily loaded in favour of the home side. Ask Trist and he feels the scenario will be different this time around. "Nobody seems to talk about the fact that India toured New Zealand in 2002-03 during the early part of the season (in December-January). Remember, this time the team is playing most of the games in March where the summer is at its best," observed Trist, who is also the head coach of the Cadence Cricket Academy in Mundhwa.
The former Canterbury seamer believes Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men have a lot of self-belief going for them and he has no doubts that India would start as favourites. "This is a 'progressive' Indian team. I feel the Indian team over the years were susceptible on bouncy tracks and hostile crowds overseas, but not any more. I always reckon that you are as good as your weakling and this Indian team doesn't seem to have any weakling. I am putting my serious money on India," Trist spoke highly about the Indian team.
So would the Indian team be caught unawares if they are presented with green tops to play on? "I don't think so. I expect the conditions to be consistent and fair and I also know that this Indian team has the firepower in their batting and bowling to outsmart New Zealand no matter whatever the hosts throw at them," Trist puts things in perspective.
The 61-year-old New Zealand, who also served as coach of Netherlands, says the emergence of India as a potent force in world cricket bodes well for the game. "It's great to see the passion people have for this game in India. India is the engine room through which cricket is taking bigger strides all across the globe both in terms of development of the game and also money flowing into the sport."

BCCI T20 Postponed

Board says the tourney, slated to be held in the city next month, put off to allow IPL franchisees to have enough time to prepare their teams ahead of the 2nd edition

Suhrid Barua, Pune Mirror, February 20, 2009

There was always a great deal of scepticism over the feasibility of holding the BCCI's Zonal League and the All-India knockout Twenty20 matches (for the Mushtaq Trophy) scheduled to be held in Pune from March 23 to April 5 because the dates were running too close for comfort, if not clashing with the dates of the Indian Premier League (IPL). With the multi-million-dollar league kick-starting from April, the scheduling of the BCCI's Zonal League and the All-India knockout T20 games were always on a shaky ground. "Look, the earliest we could finish the tourney was on April 5, which is just five days before the IPL begins.
Also, the IPL franchisees wanted more time to prepare their teams for the mega league and having the tourney on April 5, which would have left the players of the various ILP teams with very little time to get together," said BCCI chief administrative officer Prof. Ratnakar Shetty.So was a formal request put in by the IPL franchisees regarding the same? "I think so. We will have this tourney at the start of the 2009-10 season," he added.

Aggressive Streak

That's what ILS captain Krishna Mohan imbibed from Shanthakumaran Sreesanth during his school playing days for Ernakulam Cricket Club

Suhrid Barua, Pune Mirror, February 19, 2009

He rubbed shoulders with Shantakumaran Sreesanth during his school days in Cochin, and the aggressive streak of the fiery speedster seemed to have rubbed off on ILS captain Krishna Mohan as he churned out a clinical all-round effort to propel ILS College into the semifinals of the 2nd Damodar Karandak Inter-College Cricket Tournament. "I was playing for the Ernakulam Cricket Club in Cochin six years back where Sreesanth was our club manager. I still remember how he used to tell all the team members about the need to be 'aggressive'. I have imbibed a lot of that aggressive streak from him," recalls Mohan, who on Wednesday first held the ILS innings together, top-scoring with a responsible 48 in his team's score of 240 for 8, and later wrecking the happiness of Abasaheb Garware College (Arts) to script a 54-run victory.
Mohan, who bats left-handed and bowls left-arm spin, fondly remembers how Sreesanth used to advise him on giving hundred per cent to every ball. "He (Sreesanth) always insisted on thinking of every ball as a wicket-taking delivery. I was in class ten at that time and I still remember Sreesanth telling me to bowl every ball with the intent of taking a wicket,'' reminisced Mohan, who also played with another former India seamer from Kerala, Tinu Yohanan for Swantons Club.
Digressing from the confabulation, one probed him about how near-perfect example he has set of the saying 'captain leading from the front'. "I'm sure with my 48 and four-wicket haul, I have done that," he blushes. "That apart, we have a very talented side that can go the distance if we keep playing the way we are at the moment," quipped Mohan, whose side won its first two games before losing a thriller by one run to Modern College in its third tie. "The loss to Modern College still rankles. It was touch and go. But the convincing win has put us in the right frame of mind for the semifinals," he concluded.

Nothing wrong

While former India wicketkeeper and former chief national selector Syed Kirmani tore into Dhoni, saying the gloveman lacked the 'copybook basics', another former chief national selector Dilip Vengsarkar says there's nothing wrong with MSD's wicketkeeping

Suhrid Barua, Pune Mirror, February 18, 2009

It's a case of one former chief national selector taking a dig at the wicket-keeping abilities of Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, while another throwing fulsome praise at the Ranchi dasher. Even former India wicketkeeper and former chief national selector Syed Kirmani tore into Dhoni, saying the gloveman lacked the 'copybook basics' and was not a natural athlete for a wicketkeeper, another former chief national selector Dilip Vengsarkar sees nothing amiss with the wicketkeeping abilities of the Indian skipper. "First of all, I'm not a wicketkeeper. But as far as I'm concerned, Dhoni is solid behind the stumps. To be honest, I find nothing wrong with his wicketkeeping," the former Indian top-order batsman said on the sidelines of the Thakurdas Wadhwani Memorial Cricket Trophy which concluded in the city on Sunday.
Pouring praise on his leadership qualities, Vengsarkar said Dhoni is a doing fine job and is only going to get better. "He has been doing a fabulous job as captain. He's learning all time and would only evolve as even better captain," the 'Colonel' added.

No square-cuts please

Varroc Vengsarkar Cricket Academy captain Omkar Sankalp makes it a point not to play the aerial shot

Suhrid Barua, Pune Mirror, February 16, 2009

A youngster is strictly told by coaches to curb himself playing the aerial shots. But Omkar Sankalp makes a conscious effort on his own to avoid playing one shot - the square-cut shot. The youngster, who bats at one-drop for Varroc Vengsarkar Cricket Academy and opens the bowling for his side besides being the captain of the side, has been a phenomenal success in the Thakurdas Wadhwani Memorial Un-der-14 Cricket Trophy just-concluded Varroc Vengsarkar Cricket Academy grounds. Omkar amassed 170 runs with the willow and captured a superb haul off 22 wicket, including two five-wicket hauls to cap off a fine tournament and deservedly got the Man of the Series award.The maturity of the the 12-year-old youngster can be gauged in the man-ner in which he shoulders arms to short deliveries pitched outside the off-stump. "Omkar is a very disciplined cricketer. Ever since he joined the Varroc Vengsarkar Cricket Academy in September, 2008, he has emerged as one of the exciting youngsters with loads of positive energy and I've never seen him play the square-cut shot," revealed Varroc Vengsarkar Cricket Academy coach Mohan Jadhav, who seen this talented lad very closely.
Jadhav feels the good thing about Omkar is that he knows his off-stump very well. "Opposition bowlers try to entice Omkar to play the cut shot up-pishly but he's smart enough not to get laid in any kind of trap," Jadhav observed.
The Varroc Vengsarkar Cricket Acad-emy coach, who is also professional painter, says Omkar knows the impor-tance of keeping a price tag on his wicket. "It's an absolute joy to see Omkar bat. He likes to play in the 'V' and also because he is strong with his flick strokes, he doesn't need to risk playing the square-cut," Jadhav explains.
Ask the boy in question and you know what his coach is talking about. "I make a honest effort not to play the square-cut shot. Not that my coaches at Varroc Vengsarkar Cricket Academy have to repeatedly tell me this, I want to make sure I don't end up giving my wicket playing that shot," Omkar sings a mature tune.

Attention Jitendra

Young left-armer seamer is also under the selection scanner of the Delhi Daredevils team

Suhrid Barua, Pune Mirror, February 14, 2009

Young left-armer seamer Jitendra Patil, who is touted to be quickest bowler among the present lot, is also under the selection scanner of the Delhi Daredevils team. Apparently, the GMR Group is impressed with what they have heard of left-armer seamer Jitendra Patil, touted to be the best thing to have happened to state cricket. "Jitendra is definitely someone our people would like to have a look during the Ranji one-dayers in Rajkot. He looks promising and he is very much under consideration," said T.A Shekhar, vice president of the GMR Sports Group, which owns the Delhi Daredevils team.
The talent scouting team of the Delhi Daredevils team, which had pegged February 15 as the date on which they would decide which of two Pune boys -Kedar Jadhav and Ameya Shrikhande made the cut, now wants to see some of the Maharashtra cricketers besides Kedar and Ameya during the upcoming one-dayers. "Our sports committee people will watch some of the Maharashtra boys in Rajkot. Watching them would give us a fair idea about what they can deliver," said Shekhar.
So has there been in the shift in the stand of setting their sights on taking one batsman? "As I've said before, we will take one batsman, it could be Kedar or Ameya or even some one else. We want to have a broader pool of players to look at," he clarifies.
So is he willing to set any time-frame when they take the final decision? "All I can say is that our people will arrive at a decision by the end of this month," he added.

Determined Lot

Saraswati Mandir Night College team members are a bunch of boys, who attend classes at night and work full-time during day time, even participate in the tourney at the cost of loss of pay

Suhrid Barua, Pune Mirror, February 13, 2009

Saraswati Mandir Night College team is like any other team among the twenty sides participating in the ongoing second Damodar Karandak cricket tournament. But their presence in the tourney oozes a 'team with a difference' kind of feeling.Saraswati Mandir Night College team are a bunch of boys, who take college classes at night and work full-time during day time in various sectors. The passion of this squad can be gauged by the fact they are competing in this tourney after obtaining leave from their employers for those days they are playing a match."All our team members work full-time in different industries. I work as an accountant in Sha Jatmal Sopaji in Bhawanipeth," reveals Saraswati Mandir Night College captain Praveen Khillare, who captured two crucial wickets, including the prized one of Kunal Bhilare, MIT Junior College captain even as his side scripted a thrilling 16-run romp at LIS Law College ground.
The swarthy-looking Khillare says it is their sheer passion for cricket that propelled their participation in the tournament. "We've no coach," insists Khillare."We don't have a cricket kit. It was a big relief when our college provided it for this tournament. Also, we've no ground to practice, we practice sometimes at SP College and Nehru Stadium but all these things doesn't act as a dampener for us," he says matter-of-factly.
The massive intent of just 'playing' in the tournament is further exemplified by the fact that the Saraswati Mandir Night College team-members even shelled out a part of the entry fee from their own pockets to take part in the tournament."Every team has to pay an entry fee of Rs 2,000 for this tournament. Our college played Rs 1,000 while all our team-members chipped in with the rest amount to ensure our participation in the tournament," Khillare says, wearing pride in his sleeves.
So, what about the loss of pay for the leaves taken by his team-members on match days? "Our salaries are very modest. Still, we don't think so much about loss of pay. The important thing is that our employers have granted us leave to participate in this tournament, which gives us a thrilling experience. Whether we win or lose in this tournament is a different matter altogether," he says.