Today's Ranji Trophy clash at the Wankhede Stadium is about the table topper versus the bottom placed team in Group 'B' of the national championships.
Jay Bista during Mumbai's practice session at Wankhede Stadium on Saturday. Pic/Atul Kamble
Mumbai are sitting pretty at the top with 20 points while the Railways are at the bottom with six points. Railways, with just one win from six games, will need to play out of their skins to avoid a sixth defeat.
Bista on song
Opening batsman Jay Bista has more of a chance to make his Ranji debut for Mumbai than off-spinner Ankush Jaiswal. Bista, who scored centuries in both innings against Bengal (125 and 130) in the recently concluded under-23 Col CK Nayudu Trophy tie at Mumbai Cricket Association's BKC ground, played an important role in Mumbai's seven-wicket win earlier this month.
Bista could make it to the playing XI since Rohit Sharma is in the India squad for the Bangalore Test against South Africa. "There is a bit of pressure, but at the same time, I am happy and ready for the match. It's a very big game for me," 20-year-old Bista told Sunday mid-day on Saturday.
Bista recalled his under-19 days when he was struggling on the self-belief front. "My coach Vinod Raghvan helped me a lot. He kept pushing and motivating me to play with a high confidence level. I don't want to lose this opportunity. My long term goal is not only to play for India but stay there for at least 10 years," said Bista.
However, Mumbai coach Chandrankant Pandit will take a call on his playing XI on Sunday morning. "Bista is likely to play," was all said Pandit.
Nayar to be missed
Mumbai will miss the services of experienced all-rounder Abhishek Nayar, who was injured during the last match against Uttar Pradesh. Former captain Nayar and has undergone surgery in his right palm.
All eyes on the pitch
A lot of focus will be on the Wankhede strip which is expected to be batsmen-friendly. Pandit tried to steer clear of controversy which has been in full flow ever since the October 25 run bath in the India vs South Africa ODI clash: "I would not like to comment on it. After getting 600 runs we thought we could win.
Unfortunately, it did not happen," Pandit said about the November 7-10 drawn match against UP in which close to 1200 runs were scored. Pandit added: "I am not a master of reading pitches or ground conditions. We have a balanced side. Whatever the conditions, we should be able to play well and exploit them. That's my funda (mental outlook). There's no point complaining," Pandit added.
Luck is against us: Karn
Meanwhile, Railways' India spinner Karn Sharma rued his side's plight. "This is a bad time for us. Nothing is working in our favour. Luck is against us too and some crucial decisions also went against us. However, we would like to take it session by session and play well in this game," said Sharma.