Mumbai obviously has the legacy of not faltering at the big stage in Ranji Trophy. Uttar Pradesh, on the other hand, is riding on the youth power. Uttar Pradesh head coach Vijay Dahiya asserted that
the legacy will not matter during the Ranji semifinal between the two outfits at Just Cricket Academy from Tuesday.
“With so many people getting exposure in IPL and other cricket, it all comes down to 11 versus 11 rather than anything else. Unfortunately, you don’t have too many senior players in the dressing room to tell you about the legacy but even if they are there, you need time to build that trust and tell them about the legacy,” Dahiya said on Monday.
“And the other thing is if you try and tell them, they just look at you and wonder what age he is talking about. You just have to try and make them realise it’s 11 versus 11.”
Dahiya’s Mumbai counterpart Amol Muzumdar stressed that the lack of experience in the line-up will not hurt the team. “We haven’t looked beyond one game and prepared accordingly. Every game this season has been a must-win, so instead of looking at it as a semifinal, we are just treating it as another game and preparing accordingly,” Muzumdar said.
The match will yet again pit Sarfaraz Khan, the run-machine, against his former team. After leaving Mumbai for Uttar Pradesh in 2015-16, Sarfaraz Khan returned to Mumbai in 2017-18, served a cooling-off period and then has been unstoppable with the bat. The last time he faced Uttar Pradesh, in 2019-20 at the Wankhede Stadium, he notched up an unbeaten triple hundred.
Muzumdar tried to downplay the Sarfaraz’s showdown against Uttar Pradesh. “It’s already been some time, right? Some time has passed since he has come back. Yes, it may be a big deal for him but I think
for him and for us as a team, there are bigger things to look at. It’s a big game, after all,” he said.