Calcutta: If Bengal’s most potent weapon is their bowling, Maharashtra do have the ammunition to counter it with authority. The Harshad Khadiwales and Kedar Jadhavs are already there to thwart the rival bowlers. But the Maharashtra batting line-up is not just about the two of them. Add Vijay Zol and it only gets stronger.
Not many would have given Maharashtra a chance in the Ranji Trophy quarter final, when they were asked to chase down 252 against a Mumbai attack that featured India’s pace spearhead Zaheer Khan.
But Jadhav hammered an unbeaten century, while Zol, too, contributed with an equally significant 91 not out, leaving last year’s champions stunned.
Without doubt, Zol, as of now, has been more than a bonus for Maharashtra. True, Bengal bowlers are in excellent form at the moment, with the momentum too being with them. But Zol, for his part, doesn’t seem to be perturbed at all, going into the semi-final tie, in Indore, starting from Saturday.
“We are not worried about Bengal or their bowling. It’s not a concern for us,” Zol said on Monday.
“It doesn’t matter who our opponents are. Bengal bowlers might be doing very well, but all that counts is how we perform in every session and execute our game plan, which will be crucial.”
According to Zol, it’s team effort that has taken Maharashtra this far in the Ranji Trophy. “Look, it’s not just about one or two individuals. Each and every member of our team has stood and up delivered.
“If one batsman failed, another has chipped in and contributedů I just hope this continues in the semi-final as well,” he said.
Speaking about his own form, Zol, who is also the India under-19 captain, emphasised on his hunger to score every time he takes the crease.
“I’m always hungry to score more and more, which helps me contribute for my team. The second innings (against Mumbai) wasn’t easy under the circumstances. But now that I’ve been able to help my team cross that hurdle, it’s certainly been a confidence booster.
“The Ranji matches have been a great learning experience for me and am sure it will help in dealing pressure situations better.”
Zol and his teammates may well be high on confidence, having beaten Mumbai, but that hardly seems to bother Ashok Dinda. “This young kid (Zol) is batting well at present. But look, we, too, have a very good idea of not just his, but his seniors’ — Khadiwale and Jadhav — strengths and weaknesses.
“We know the job we need to do,” the Bengal pacer asserted.