We will play on the front foot, says Aditya Tare

Updated: Dec 22, 2018, 08:56 IST | Harit N Joshi

Mumbai veteran Aditya Tare assures aggressive approach against Saurashtra in must-win Ranji Trophy tie beginning at Wankhede Stadium today

Aditya Tare at the Wankhede Stadium yesterday. Pic/Suresh Karkera
Aditya Tare at the Wankhede Stadium yesterday. Pic/Suresh Karkera

Mumbai v Saurashtra has often been referred to as a David v Goliath battle, where the former enjoyed an upper hand in 66 Ranji Trophy contests, having lost outright only once. However, contest No. 67, beginning at the Wankhede Stadium today, will see 41-time Ranji champions Mumbai going in as Goliath.

Saurashtra on top
Saurashtra are on top of the table in the combined Group A and B teams with 25 points from six matches, while Mumbai are languishing in 13th position with eight points from five matches. Only the top five teams from the Elite A and B groups will make the cut for the knockout stage.

However, Mumbai are not alien to this situation. In the 2006-07 season, Mumbai went on to win the Ranji title under Amol Muzumdar's captaincy despite being on zero points after their first three matches. They needed to win their next three matches by bonus points to make the cut, and they did. This time too, Mumbai have to win their next three league games outright to stand a chance of qualifying for the quarter-finals.

Aditya Tare, who has been captain of the side, admitted his team have their backs to the wall but hoped they can emulate some of the past Mumbai teams who have emerged on top from tough positions. "The only way out of this is to go forward. We have to fight it out. We will look to play aggressive cricket. We will go on the front foot," said Tare.

"Mumbai teams of the past have been in this situation where they had to win all their games. We can draw inspiration from those teams to achieve success this time. We are pretty optimistic of our chances going forward," added Tare, who felt that Mumbai's last two wins over Saurashtra in the Ranji Trophy finals (2012-13 and 2015-16) will have no bearing on this contest.

The tension in the Mumbai camp was palpable. Selector Nilesh Kulkarni, coach Vinayak Samant and skipper Siddhesh Lad had a lengthy meeting immediately after the
practice session on match eve yesterday.

'This is our best chance'
Meanwhile, Saurashtra skipper Jaydev Unadkat is licking his lips at the prospect of beating Mumbai for the second time in their Ranji Trophy history. "I won't hesitate to say that this is our best chance; not just because of their team composition, but because of the way we have been playing as well. We have two outright wins in our last two matches. The momentum is on our side," said Unadkat.

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