By Anupam Soni :
WINNING title on eve of the Festival of Lights — Deepawali is a “pleasant and wonderful gift by the boys to Vidarbha”, remarked Vidarbha Under-19 cricket team coach Usman Ghani after the boys wrested the Vinoo Mankad Trophy on Sunday. In the final, Vidarbha colts, who remained unbeaten in the tournament, defeated Punjab by 32 runs at Sports Hub International Cricket Stadium in Thiruvanantapuram for their second BCCI Mankad title. After a wet start to the tournament, the first completed match turned on the players and made all the difference to the tournament. “Before start of the tournament, we had very less time to practice due to inclement weather. Even after the first three wash-outs, the boys were motivated. The fourth match actually turned it on. The umpires wanted the game to be called off but thanks to the match referee that we could get at least a 20-over game. We came into the picture after that game versus Meghalaya. From there on, we got started and never looked back,” said Ghani on how the tournament unfolded after a series of wash-outs at the start, while talking to ‘The Hitavada’ over phone from Thiruvanantapuram. Vidarbha did not rely on a player or two as there were different match winners on their way to the title. “We have been unbeaten and the players showed good attitude. In each match we had one or two different match winners. The players rose to the occasion and to maintain it throughout the event is really creditable.
The boys peaked at the right time. “In the final, Neel (Athaley) got runs. Danish (Malewar) was consistent with bat throughout while Jagjot (Singh Sasan) was consistent with both bat and ball. Raj (Chavhan) did well and in the final (Pratham) Maheshwari came up with good show. “This is a very pleasant and wonderful gift to Vidarbha by the boys. Winning the first tournament of the season (for boys) ... it’s a good start in fact for Vidarbha cricket also,” said Ghani sharing the details. On low scores in the 50-over games, Ghani pointed out, “It was because of wickets and conditions. The pitch was also two-paced and had variable bounce. Stroke making was very difficult. I think we did a decent job getting to 230-odd which was a good score on that wicket (in the final).” Ghani found the team a bunch of talented players and hoped the senior side will benefit from it. “This is definitely a very talented bunch. Earlier, the belief that they can win was missing but with this title they have tasted success and they will change for better. There is ample talent in the side and their graph will only improve with time. The senior side will get some really good players in the coming time,” said Ghani adding, “I also wish to thank the association and to all those who have been backing us. And a very Happy Diwali to all.”
VCA announces Rs 15 lakh prize
VCA President Adv Adwait Manohar and the entire executive committee congratulated Vidarbha boys for winning the Vinoo Mankad Trophy. Manohar announced a cash Prize of Rs 15 lakh to the winning team.