Physical Disability T20 World Series: How Sunny Goyat was picked an hour before final
Standby pacer Goyat, whose crucial contribution helped India beat hosts England to win Physical Disability T20 World Series title on Tuesday, reveals how he was picked in the side just an hour before the final
When Kapil Dev led India to clinch the Prudential World Cup at Lord's in 1983, Sunil Valson was the only member of the 15-member victorious squad who did not figure in a single game of the tournament. History almost repeated itself with India's disabled cricket team member Sunny Goyat. In fact, Goyat was not even in the 16-member India squad for the Physical Disability T20 World Series in the UK. He was among the four stand-bys who travelled with the team. However, Goyat's fortune smiled on him when he was picked in the playing XI for the final of the T20 series against England on Tuesday after all-rounder Debabrata Roy got injured.
The Haryana pacer grabbed the opportunity with both hands and took a couple of crucial wickets (2-23) on his India debut to help the visitors beat England by 36 runs at Blackfinch New Road ground in Worcestershire for a maiden World Series win on international soil. Chasing India's 180 for seven in 20 overs, England seemed to be in the driver's seat, having reached 90-2 in just 10 overs. However, the introduction of Goyat in the 11th over turned the game on its head. Goyat, 24, sent back the well-settled Angus Brown (44 off 32 balls) in his very first over and then dismissed Callum Flynn (28). Thereafter, it was a mere formality for India as the hosts struggled to get anywhere near the target.
India players celebrate after winning the Physical Disability T20 World Series title at the Blackfinch New Road ground in Worcestershire on Tuesday. Pic courtesy: BCCI twitter
Skipper Vikrant Keni revealed how Goyat got his lucky break. "Sunny was not part of the squad. He was a standby. But he has been bowling impressively in the nets and consistently troubled a few of our batsmen with his variations. So when Debabrata got injured, coach Sulakshan Kulkarni sir felt that Sunny could be our surprise weapon for the final and picked him," Keni told mid-day over the phone from Worcestershire yesterday.
Coach Sulakshan explained that it was tough to include Goyat in the playing XI. "Actually, I wanted to play Sunny from the very first game, but as the selectors didn't pick him in the 16-member squad, I couldn't help it. I liked his accuracy and particularly his slower deliveries. When Debabrata got injured I had to make a special request to tournament director Ian Martin to replace him with Sunny. Thankfully, Ian approved the last-minute change, and Sunny turned out to be the perfect replacement for Roy," said Kulkarni.
Interestingly, Goyat got both his wickets off slower deliveries. Goyat admitted there were some nerves as he prepared for his dream debut. "Representing your country for the first time is special, but to do it in a World Series final was a dream come true. Though I was not part of the squad initially, I enjoyed bowling in the nets and supporting the team throughout. On the eve of the final, it was a pleasant surprise to see my name in the 16-member squad. Then, on the final morning — one hour before the match — Sulakshan sir told me that I was in the playing XI. I was overjoyed. I felt the pressure initially but as the match progressed, I got into the groove and everything fell into place. I'm glad that I didn't disappoint Sulakshan sir and my teammates," said Goyat.
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