Ranji Trophy: Finally, Vidarbha spinner Aditya Sarwate gets his prized scalp
Vidarbha spinner reveals how he plotted Saurashtra star Pujara's wicket with coach Pandit after a three-year wait
Vidarbha left-arm spinner Aditya Sarwate's wait of three years ended yesterday as he managed to get the all-important wicket of Saurashtra's star batsman Cheteshwar Pujara (1) on Day Two of the Ranji Trophy final at the Vidarbha Cricket Association's stadium at Jamtha in Nagpur. Thanks to Sarwate's three for 53, the hosts restricted Saurashtra for 158 for five at stumps in reply to their first innings total of 312.
Sarwate last played against Pujara in the 2015-16 Ranji Trophy quarter-final in Vizianagaram. "It was my Ranji debut season, and I was keen to get Pujara's prized wicket, but Umesh Yadav dismissed him instead. I bowled around 25 overs thereafter and picked-up four wickets in the match, but had to wait for three years to dismiss Pujara, today. We all know how important his wicket is. As a bowler, it gives you a different kind of satisfaction," Sarwate, 29, told mid-day over the phone from Nagpur yesterday.
Sarwate introduced early
Sarwate was introduced in the attack as early as the third over of the Saurashtra's innings, and immediately accounted for Harvik Desai (10), trapped leg before. "It was Chandu [coach Chandrakant Pandit] sir's plan to try spin for a couple of early overs and the move paid dividends as I got a wicket quickly," added Sarwate, who then dismissed one-drop Vishwaraj Jadeja (18), again leg-before. Then came his prized scalp when Pujara edged one to Wasim Jaffer at first slip, reducing the visitors to 81-3 in the 30th over just before tea.
Sarwate revealed how he plotted the top India batsman's downfall. "I thought he [Pujara] would try to survive as that was the last over before tea. I was keen to get a wicket so that we could go into the break on a high. I consistently bowled in the right areas. I bowled three straight deliveries, and on the fourth one, I succeeded in generating a little more bounce and turn off the pitch and Pujara's edged it. This has to be one of my best wickets," said Sarwate, adding that the plot to dismiss Pujara was hatched by coach Pandit, as he, alongwith his team, watched the India star bat against Australia during the Test series last month.
"We watched the Australia series together on TV and studied Pujara's batting style. He was using his feet often so our plan was not to let him do that. We wanted to curtail his shots, so we attacked. It was only a few minutes to tea, so we brought in a forward short-leg, silly point as well as a slip to put pressure on him. And it worked," said all-rounder Sarwate, who has picked 50 wickets this season and scored 305 runs.
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