Vijay Merchant Trophy: Back with a bang
Coming out of a ban, left-arm spinner Musheer emerges top wicket-taker to help Mumbai clinch U-16 crown.
Mumbai's teenaged left-arm spinner Musheer Khan and middle-order batsman Aditya Pawar were not part of the U-16 Vijay Merchant Trophy-winning team for a few initial games.
However, after both were included in the team, they not only gelled well as room partners, but also helped the team emerge champions.
Musheer was not even in the team's plans as he was banned by the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) for three years (from February 2018) for disciplinary reasons. However, he travelled to Delhi, Meerut, Bangalore and Moradabad to get match practice.
Musheer emerged the top wicket-taker for Mumbai (30 in four games) including a 10-wicket (5-42 and 5-59) haul in the final. But he was totally demoralised during the ban period. "He was very upset during that banned period. I used to travel with him to get him practice games across different cities as he was not allowed to play in Mumbai. I used to tell him that many big players overcame such situations. I cited the example of Australian great David Warner coming out of his [ball tampering] ban period successfully; also Ambati Rayudu, who joined the Indian Cricket League but succeeded in getting picked for India thereafter. I think such examples motivated him and he bounced back strongly," Musheer's father and coach Naushad Khan told mid-day on Wednesday.
"I must thank MCA president Vijay Patil for considering our request to revoke Musheer's ban and give him a chance to represent Mumbai U-16 again," Naushad remarked.
Meanwhile, Musheer told mid-day from Dharamsala: "There was no pressure at all to perform in this final despite it being telecast live on TV. I worked a lot on my bowling with my abbu [Naushad], especially my run-up— reduced it to five steps from my earlier 12. It helped me bowl with specific momentum. I was delighted to perform well and pick most of the wickets in the final."
Like Musheer, Aditya was playing his first Vijay Merchant final. "I am delighted my knock helped the team post a decent total and win this final. I was hoping for the three-figure mark, but I will score it next time," Aditya assured.
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