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Ranji triumph as big as representing India for me: Faiz Fazal

Apart from Fazal’s own able leadership, he acknowledged the presence of the seasoned Wasim Jaffer who added balance to the side filled with young blood.

Faiz Fazal
Faiz Fazal celebrates the Ranji Trophy win with family. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Vidarbha captain Faiz Fazal on Monday termed the team’s inspiring victory to their maiden Ranji Trophy his career’s “biggest achievement”, one that is even bigger than representing India in a lone ODI against Zimbabwe. After a convincing nine-wicket victory over cricket giants Delhi, the region has scripted a new chapter in cricketing history.

Fazal was a part of the second-string Indian team that toured Zimbabwe in 2016 and opening the innings in his career’s only international game, the 32-year-old left-handed batsman scored a half-century. However, he did not come in the Indian selectors’ radar after that.

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Winning the trophy has been a big thing

“Winning the Ranji Trophy would be the biggest achievement of my career. I know playing for India was a big high for me because as an individual, you get to achieve that. I have always been a team-man. Winning the trophy for the team has been a big thing. I have been leading Vidarbha since my age-group cricket days. And to lead a Ranji team is not an easy thing,” an elated Fazal said.

Vidarbha achieved victory with a day to spare, clearly showing the team’s dominance in its biggest game of all time, in India’s premier domestic tournament. It was so good a victory that even individual success of every player was only aimed at the contributing to the collective effort guiding the team home.

“The win is no less than a fairytale. This feeling can’t be described. As a cricketer, we have always dreamed of winning Ranji Trophy. It is the biggest thing in our career. It happened today, and I am happy. For now, we are on seventh heaven. But again, we have to be down to earth and start our work tomorrow,” the skipper added.

Credit to the coach

While individual brilliance from the likes of young pacer Rajneesh Gurbani, Sanjay Ramaswamy, Wasim Jaffer and Akshay Wakhare helped a great deal, the mantra behind Vidarbha’s success showed in the determination and focus of the players. Much of the credit here has been given to their coach Chandrakant Pandit, who was sacked by Mumbai last year, but led the underdogs and brought about an evident change in the psyche and approach of Vidarbha.

“From day one, I thought we can win it. I was in England before the season, and when I came to Nagpur and met Chandu Sir, the first thing I wanted to know was how to win the trophy. Then the process started. The first game against Punjab was the turning point,” Fazal pointed out.

Apart from his own able leadership, he acknowledged the presence of the seasoned Wasim Jaffer who added balance to the side filled with young blood. Eventually, the 7-time Ranji champions, Delhi, were bundled out for 280 on day 4 with Jaffer hitting the winning boundary.

“I let the side be free. This win has not been easy. Behind this, Chandu sir comes in, Jaffer bhai, Karn (Sharma), Ganesh (Satish) played huge role. Otherwise it would have not been possible,” he said.

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