Coach Sulakshan Kulkarni delighted with Mumbai Ranji Trophy team's attitude that helped them progress to the semi-finals where they meet Tamil Nadu
Mumbai may not have managed an outright victory against Madhya Pradesh in their Ranji Trophy quarter-final match in Indore, but a draw was enough to land them in the semi-final by virtue of first-innings lead. Mumbai will take on in-form Tamil Nadu in the semi-final at Wankhede Stadium from Tuesday.
Praful Waghela, who remained unbeaten on 51 against Madhya Pradesh
yesterday. Pic/Atul Kamble
So, for obvious reasons, Sulakshan Kulkarni was happy to see the attitude his team showed en route to making the last four in his first season as coach. "I am really happy to see the character of the team. Despite not having most of our regular faces, we managed to make it to the semis and hoping to do even better," Kulkarni told MiD DAY from Indore.
The coach is more impressed with youngsters -- Kaustubh Pawar, Hiken Shah, Surya Kumar Yadav, Ankeet Chavan and others -- who have made it possible even sans regular players like Sushant Marathe, Abhishek Nayar, Avishkar Salvi, besides stalwarts like Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane. "They reflected true Mumbai colours. When we were reduced to 70 for five on Day One, our youngsters made sure we get the first innings lead. That's fantastic," coach said.
Ahead of the last-four clash, Kulkarni though wasn't sure about the availability of players, who are nursing injuries. "I can only confirm that we will probably get Abhishek (Nayar) for the semi-final, but still have no clue about Marathe and Salvi. It will take a day or two to know their status," he said. Reaching the semi-final won't call for celebrations.
He wants to go that extra yard (winning the 40th title). "If we have to win the tournament for the 40th time, we will have to be at our very best. Tamil Nadu is a very good side and the outcome will depend on how the two teams fare on those four days," Kulkarni said.
He showed respect for Tamil Nadu players. "They have Murali Vijay, Abhinav Mukund, Subramaniam Badrinath, Dinesh Karthik, Laxmipathy Balaji... so many stars and consistent performers. Badrinath, in particular, has been taking the onus of scoring the bulk of the runs for so many years and so it will be great match," he felt.