Pune: It’s the last lap of their strenuous, topsy-turvy and challenging journey. The teams which played the best cricket — Mumbai and Saurashtra — have earned their place in the Ranji Trophy final that begins today at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Gahunje, near Pune.
Will it stay green? Mumbai skipper Aditya Tare inspects Pune’s Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium pitch with coach Chandrakant Pandit yesterday
Both teams will vie for domestic cricket’s top prize at a relatively alien venue where they haven’t played five-day cricket as yet. For the journey to end on a successful note, it is important to have enough power in the engine.
To ensure that Mumbai players function as a well-oiled unit, it is learnt that coach Chandrakant Pandit came up with a unique plan to guard against complacency for the summit clash against Saurashtra, who have progressed from the Plate division.
On the eve of the final, Pandit touched upon the Ramayana and Mahabharata and stressed on how players can take a cue from them for this big clash.
When mid-day asked Pandit about his unique concept of referring to mythology, he revealed: “The Ramayana has a very deep thought process. Each character has its own qualities. For example, Lord Rama’s single-minded devotion and unwavering focus is admirable. The purpose is to inspire the boys to have similar focus and devotion for this big final too.
“Then, in the Mahabharata, the level of concentration is well-depicted when Arjuna is asked by Dronacharya what he sees in the bird while taking aim with his bow and arrow.
Do it like Arjuna
“Arjuna replies, saying he only sees the bird’s eye and that’s why he hits the target successfully each time. The boys have worked hard and done well to reach to this stage. We shouldn’t lose our way from here.”
Throughout the season too, it is learnt that Pandit chose innovative ways to inspire the team. “Sir believes in miracles. During the semi-final, he shared with us the inspiring story of the Siachen soldier (Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Kopad), who was found alive after being buried in snow for six days.
“He also shares inspiring stories of people whom he knows personally. It is exciting to listen to them,” said one of the Mumbai players.
Pandit said the purpose of these activities is to inspire the team to achieve success. “Cricket is a mind game. All this is just to boost their morale and team spirit,” the coach signed off.