Pune: Purely based on current form, Arpit Vasavada might have struggled to justify his place in the Saurashtra playing XI, going into the Ranji Trophy final against Mumbai that began here yesterday. But on a green track, with most of the Saurashtra batsmen struggling, Vasavada played a gem to save his team from some embarrassment.
Saurashtra’s Arpit Vasavada en route his 77 against Mumbai at MCA Stadium in Pune yesterday. Pic/Mandar Tannu
His 77 might not have got Saurashtra completely out of trouble, but it has brought the team total some respectability. As their coach Shitanshu Kotak puts it, if not for Vasavada’s 77 and his 84-run stand with debutant Prerak Mankad, Saurashtra could well have been bowled out for 120-odd runs.
“I always had the belief in Arpit. He is a real team man. Plus, he bowls left-arm spin if required. Even though he hasn’t got many runs this season, his selection was never in question for me,” Kotak said after the first day’s play.
Interestingly, the last time those two sides met, in a Ranji final three seasons ago, Vasavada had top scored with 59 in Saurashtra’s first innings total of 148.
“I was batting well this season, even though I wasn’t getting the big runs. I am happy that I could do it today, although I am disappointed at getting out at the fag end of the day,” Vasavada said.