Saturday, 16 February, 2008

Khadiwale is the lad to watch: Bhave

B D Narayankar

PUNE: The present Maharashtra coach Surendra Bhave appears to be under pressure after taking over the mantle of Coach Maharashtra from Chandrakant Pandit, but sounds confident of facing the challenge thrown at him. He pins hopes on crafting Team Maharashtra to reach cricketing pinnacles in coming years.
Though Team Maharashtra had a poor showing in this year’s Ranji session, he chose to talk about the positives. “The prospects of Team Maharashtra in coming years looks bright as there are many young players who had performed exceedingly well in U-15 Polly Umrigar Trophy and U-17 Plate division of Vijay Merchant Trophy,” Bhave told this correspondent at PYC Hindu Gymkhana on Saturday after a veterans’ match.
At senior level too Maharashtra has been gifted with good promising youngsters in the form of left-arm pacer Samad Fallah, right-hand quickie Shrikant Mundhe, all-rounder Harshad Khadiwale and Kedar Jadhav, he said.
“I am very much impressed by opener Harshad and Fallah. Harshad put up an impressive show against U-19 South Africa in South Africa. Though he failed to impress in his first and third match, he scored a brilliant 75 runs at Chatsworth Oval where the Indian team pulled off a 7-wicket victory. He is the batsman to watch out for,” Bhave said.
“I am also impressed by Fallah. He has a good pace and swings the ball in the air. What I like about this lad his confidence. Also there is Shrikant Mundhe. The wicket of VVS Laxman, which he took, in a Ranji match stunned even the stylish Hyderabad batsman. The ball beat his bat and rattled his stumps with a beautiful inswinger,” he said.
The emerging talent in Maharashtra, Bhave says is due to the new league format Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) had framed last year. “We formed 20 cricket districts and conducted 440 matches last year that gave us ample room to identify talents and picked up the probables,” he said.
MCA also has launched a programme of improving the infrastructure and standards of umpring at the district level since a lot of talents were emerging from these places. “We are pleased to prepare hard and bouncy pitches in Nashik and Ratnagiri where Munaf Patel started his pace journey and eventually selected for India. We want to prepare good pitches to hone the skills of both batsmen and bowlers,” Bhave observed.


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