It is quite fascinating that left-arm spinners finished as the leading wicket-takers in the Col CK Nayudu and the Cooch Behar Trophies in 2015-16. Both youngsters belong to the West Zone in India’s domestic circuit. Maharashtra Under-23s Satyajeet Bachhav topped the charts in the Col CK Nayudu Trophy, whereas Ninad Rathva led the way for Baroda Under-19s’ in the Cooch Behar Trophy.
If you hear both speak, it is a similar story; both bowlers had set off on the same path before turning to spin. Like Bachhav, Rathva too began as a fast bowler in his younger days before accidentally stumbling upon left-arm spin. Speaking to BCCI.TV, the U-19 spinner said, “I started playing when I was six years old. I was a fast bowler but then in a school tournament, I bowled spin as there was no spinner. The coach then asked me to focus on this and (said) that it would be good. Since then I am bowling left-arm spin.” He is a product of Kiran More’s academy and has been training there since the age of six. He looks up to India all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja. While he has impressed with his bowling, the youngster also works on his batting and maintains a positive approach to the craft.
With a phenomenal season behind him, Rathva will be keen to make it to the next level. With that in mind, his focus is on improvement and putting in the hard yards.
Mumbai’s youngsters rub shoulders with players from England and South Africa
The ICC World T20 warm-ups took place in Mumbai last week with a few big contests at the Wankhede Stadium. A short distance away, the Brabourne Stadium hosted two more warm-up games in a quieter atmosphere. The Mumbai Cricket Association XI played against England and South Africa on March 14 and 15 respectively. The MCA XI were led by Shreyas Iyer, who is coming off a fantastic season for Mumbai in the domestic circuit. The team also included the likes of Akhil Herwadkar, Shardul Thakur, Jay Bista and Armaan Jaffer to name a few; not to forget the 44-year-old, Pravin Tambe, whose enthusiasm and spirit puts him at par with any youngster.
In the first match, England’s David Willey, Jos Buttler, James Vince and Adil Rashid turned up for the MCA XI and all four of them put in good performances against their own team. Rashid helped MCA XI dismiss the England openers who threatened to run away with the game. Willey then took a hat-trick in the last over during England’s batting while Vince scored 45 to guide the run-chase and Buttler’s aggressive knock gave England a scare towards the end.
However, the stand-out performer of the match was Bista, who was riding on the confidence of a good season including a century in the Irani Cup for the senior Mumbai team in the previous week. Taking on an international attack, he played with authority during his 37-ball 51-run knock which included five fours and two sixes. Along with Iyer, he put together a 57-run opening stand in the powerplay and impressed with his attacking approach.
The following day, the MCA XIs played against Faf du Plessis-led South Africa. This time JP Duminy, Farhaan Behardien, David Weise and Imran Tahir were part of the MCA XI team. In this game, Herwadkar stood out with a 61-run knock while opening the batting to help set the stage for a respectable total. With some valuable contributions down the order, the team notched up 188 for four. Jaffer hit an unbeaten 12-ball 24 in an unbroken 57-run stand with Weise. Though South Africa chased the total down with ease, thanks to AB de Villiers and du Plessis, the MCA XI did have positives to take. The match gave the youngsters, who have been making their presence felt in the domestic circuit an opportunity to face-off and test themselves against some of the best in the business.