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Sachin Tendulkar hails Mumbai Ranji team's 'gradual steps to final destination'

Sachin Tendulkar hails victorious Mumbai side which reaped the reward of playing as a team

mid-day special logoPune: Ranji Trophy Title No 41 is not the only aspect which Sachin Tendulkar is happy about. He has more reasons to be proud of this young Mumbai team.

Mumbai's Siddhesh Lad scored a match-winning 88 yesterday
Mumbai's Siddhesh Lad scored a match-winning 88 yesterday

The legendary batsman modestly stayed away from speaking about his numerous chats and one-on-one sessions with the Mumbai players at the Mumbai Cricket Association’s Bandra-Kurla Complex premises throughout the season but he spoke to mid-day about the takeaways for this young team from the thumping victory over Saurashtra in the Ranji Trophy final yesterday.

Ranji Trophy: Mumbai set to party hard tonight after claiming 41st title

Excerpts:

On the final win...
It was fantastic, lovely. I was following their progress. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was following the final as well.

On the biggest takeaway for Mumbai cricket...
They have all played together and performed brilliantly. This is the core group. There may be one or two changes here and there depending on form or injuries. But the core of the team is well settled for a long time to come.

Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin Tendulkar

On individual brilliance from the Mumbai cricketers during the season...
There are three or four individuals, who have done well. Shreyas (Iyer) and Suryakumar Yadav… Shardul (Thakur)… Dhawal (Kulkarni) has also bowled beautifully in the first innings (of the final). All individuals have contributed at the right time, like Shreyas scored the big hundred yesterday (on Thursday), and today (Siddhesh) Lad played one of the most important innings of his life. That partnership between him (Lad) and (Balwinder Singh) Sandhu changed Saurashtra’s mindset and ours as well. Till then, we were going neck-to-neck. That last partnership took the game away from them (Saurashtra). We started dictating terms thereon. They started feeling the heat.

On not starting the tournament well...
It’s a long season and there would be a few hiccups. Wake-up calls, as we say. That’s fine. Good teams always rise through it. We have the firepower to do that. Youngsters have tasted success and they have realised that if you play as a team, the game becomes really enjoyable. Victory is the icing on the cake. For the whole season they were taking gradual steps towards the final destination. Today, they reached their final destination, but those gradual steps were important.

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On the significance of a young team winning the Ranji title...
This victory has shown our bench strength. We didn’t have Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane, two key players. (However) without them we won, which shows Mumbai cricket’s bench strength. The youngsters contributed in a big way. They have given us many reasons to smile.

On the expectations from this team...
We should not put pressure on the team by only talking about victories. Two teams come to the ground with an aim to win. Of course, one would like to keep winning every time, but that is not always possible. The focus should be on the process, results will follow. A positive mindset is important.

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