After Debasish, another Mohanty emerges from Odisha
Debasish Mohanty was the last cricketer from Odisha to play for India, and he did that a good 12 years ago. Ever since, there have been only a handful of players from the state who have stepped into the limelight.
Paceman Basant Mohanty belongs to that category and is keen to emulate Debasish, who is now his Ranji Trophy coach. The 27-year-old was part of the India ‘A’ team which played New Zealand ‘A’ in September and claimed three wickets in two games. He also represented India ‘A’ in 2007 on the tour of Israel.
Apart from sharing the same surname, Basant feels he has quite a few other similarities with his coach. “People in Bhubaneshwar do ask whether I would be the next Mohanty from the state to play for India. I feel good about this. That’s always been the aim.
“Sir (Debasish) is my idol. I have always wanted to bowl like him. His tips are helping me a lot,” Basant, who is the leading wicket-taker for Odisha with 22 wickets in five matches, told MiD DAY on the sidelines of their practice session at the Wankhede Stadium yesterday. The visitors take on table-toppers Mumbai tomorrow in the hosts’ last Ranji Trophy home game.
Basant, who bowled alongside the former India pacer a few seasons ago, said the experience was invaluable. “He always emphasises on accuracy. I try to follow his footsteps. He would stand at mid-off and mid-on to give me tips while bowling. I would say 90 per cent of the wickets I have got so far is because of him,” said Basant, who chose to take rest during yesterday’s practice session.
Basant is confident of doing well for India ‘A’ whenever his next opportunity arrives. “I did not perform as I would have liked to. Actually, I have played more of four-day games and very few one-day matches. So it was a bit different when I was picked for the one-dayers against New Zealand ‘A’. Sanjay Bangar, who was our coach, said I need to have more variations.
It was a great learning experience,” he said. Basant said the last three league games of the Ranji Trophy would be very crucial for him. “My target was to take around 50 wickets in the Ranji season. But that doesn’t look like happening now after a few bad games.
I have to do something special in this match against Mumbai in order to get as close to my target. Only then would I be considered for any higher level of selection again.”