Sharma should make full use of Ranji platform to impress India selectors, says Mumbai's new coach Kulkarni ahead of today's opener vs Railways
Rohit Sharma's hopes of reclaiming a berth in the Indian team will depend heavily on his performance in the Ranji Trophy that gets underway today. Mumbai, chasing a record 40th title, take on two-time winners Railways in the first game of the season in a Group A tie at the Karnail Singh Stadium in Delhi today.
Eyeing Glory: Rohit Sharma during a Ranji Trophy match for Mumbai.
File pIC/Atul Kamble
Rohit broke a finger during the England tour and was thereafter out of action for a few weeks. However, he's fit again and Mumbai coach Sulakshan Kulkarni felt this is the perfect platform for him to make an impression on the national selectors. "It is an ideal opportunity for Rohit to impress the national selectors. He is keen to perform and win back his place in the Indian team. He is working hard on all the aspects of his game," Kulkarni told MiD DAY from Delhi yesterday.
The 24-year-old did well in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy West Zone T20 championship. Rohit scored 32 against Saurashtra, and cracked a brilliant 37-ball 68 against Maharashtra in the last league game on October 25 to help Mumbai virtually qualify for the knock-out stage.
"He looked in good touch in the T20 matches. I am hoping he does well in the longer (four-day) format as well. It is important for the team that he comes out good," Kulkarni added.
However, the spirit of the youngsters in the team has also impressed the new coach. "The team's morale and confidence is very high. I'm especially impressed with the way the younger players in the team have taken up the responsibility.
"They did an outstanding job of bouncing back from the heavy loss against Baroda in the West Zone T20 championship recently. The young guys in the team have responded well in critical situations," said Kulkarni, who reckoned Mumbai's bench strength will be tested as they will be missing the services of veteran pacer Ajit Agarkar (injured), and Ajinkya Rahane, away on national duty.
"Obviously, Ajit will be missed. His experience is invaluable. But that will open up the door for a youngster. That way, you can judge your bench strength. It is important we get a good start to the season," he concluded.