As per the Hindu calendar, the auspicious period of Diwali is immediately followed by the start of a new year. And cricket coach Dinesh Lad couldn’t have asked for a happier beginning to the year.
A day after his most famous ward, Rohit Sharma made his Test debut for India against West Indies in Kolkata yesterday, Dinesh’s only son Siddhesh is all set to make his first-class debut for Mumbai against Punjab in the Ranji Trophy today.
Yesterday Mumbai coach Sulakshan Kulkarni told MiD DAY: “Siddhesh has come into the team on the back of some good, solid performances. He definitely merits a place in this team.
Though we have not yet announced the playing XI for tomorrow, Siddhesh stands a good chance of making it and deservedly so.”
After beating Haryana in the Ranji opener at Lahli last week in what was Sachin Tendulkar’s final first-class tie, Mumbai take on a Harbhajan Singh-led Punjab at the Sector 16 Stadium in Chandigarh today, and Kulkarni is upbeat about his team’s chances.
“The wicket here is unlike the Lahli strip which bounced a lot. It is also in stark contrast of the other Chandigarh venue, Mohali, where the ball bounces and has too much lateral movement.
This pitch should play fair to pacers as well as spinners. Sachin has retired and Rohit is away on national duty but we have some good options like Siddhesh and Surya Kumar Yadav,” said Kulkarni.
Lad Sr is over the moon. “I don’t know what to say… I have no words. This is all thanks to the Almighty,” said Dinesh, when informed that his son is all set to earn the lion-crested Mumbai cap tomorrow.
“My wife Deepali and daughter Shraddha have been restless over the last few weeks, cheering for Rohit’s matches on TV — now they are going to be even more edgy as they watch Siddhesh on TV,” said Dinesh, who felt his 21-year-old son is getting his big break at the right time.
“Siddhesh is very focused and I wish the best for him, not only because he is my son, but because I know he has a lot to offer as a cricketer. As a youngster, he helped his school (Swami Vivekanand International, Borivli) win the Giles Shield as well as Harris Shield inter-school titles.
He can bat, bowl off-spin, leg-spin and even keep wicket, if needed. My advice for him now will be the same —‘don’t let a rash stroke take away all the hard work you have put in’,” he signed off.