Mumbai's Ranji Trophy cricketers are eager to test their skills in difficult conditions as the city’s famed monsoon tournament, Dr HD Kanga Cricket League, kicks off today across various maidans and gymkhanas.
The Kanga League will be played according to the old format this season after several clubs voiced their displeasure against the new format introduced in 2013, where the season began after the monsoon. Playing during the monsoon months was one of the key ingredients behind developing a khadoos attitude in Mumbai batsmen.
Mumbai batsmen feel the experience of playing on wet wickets will help them in their domestic outings. “Although domestic matches are not played on uncovered wickets anymore, playing on wet wickets is a different experience.
Scoring runs becomes really difficult. When you play well on difficult wickets, scoring runs on standard pitches becomes easier,” felt ex-Mumbai skipper Suryakumar Yadav, who plays for Parsee Gymkhana. Yadav and most of his Mumbai teammates will miss the initial rounds of the Kanga League as they are in Chennai for the All-India Buchi Babu tournament.
Mumbai’s middle-order batsman Siddhesh Lad, who plays for National Cricket Club, is excited to experience playing during the monsoons again.
“I have fond memories of watching Kanga League with my father (Dinesh). Playing in tough conditions provides the confidence to survive on any pitch,” said Lad.
During the last season, Mumbai batsmen faced a torrid time in Bangalore and Tamil Nadu where the wicket was bowler-friendly.
“If you play on difficult wickets, you will never be surprised while playing on a bad wicket during the Ranji Trophy. In Kanga League, batsmen have to apply themselves. There is less time to adjust to the conditions this time (it will be a one-day affair rather than one-and-half-day matches in the previous two seasons). It will make batsmen put a price on their wickets. If we pass this test, then any examination will be easy for us,” said Yadav.
The Kanga League also tests your temperament, feels Lad. “If you are not confident in your technique then you will make errors. One has to be patient in Kanga League to punish the loose balls,” he said.
Last Ranji season’s highest wicket-taker Shardul Thakur is also looking forward to play in the league. “I will play with the same intensity as I play for Mumbai. It will help me get into rhythm before the domestic season begins,” said Thakur.