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Vidarbha’s two-time Ranji-winning captain Faiz Fazal still harbours dream of playing for India

Fazal, who has over 7,800 runs in 113 first-class games with 19 hundreds, said the final was a big game for Vidarbha and that Ranji Trophy makes Indian cricketers.

Faiz Fazal
Faiz Fazal. (Photo by Matt Roberts – CA/Cricket Australia/Getty Images)

Faiz Fazal on Thursday led Vidarbha to their second Ranji Trophy title in as many years and understandably, the 33-year-old opening batsman was ecstatic over the feat. Vidarbha defeated Saurashtra by 78 runs in the final in Nagpur by picking up their last five wickets to bowl them out for 127 in pursuit of 206 to win. Though domestic cricket doesn’t generally see much footfall, the final day of the Ranji final even saw spectators displaying banners for Fazal, something that would make the man even prouder.

Fazal though has scaled first-class cricket twice in consecutive years now, his luck for playing international cricket has remained pitiless. The man got a call for the national side once in 2016 when he played against Zimbabwe in Harare under the leadership of Mahendra Singh Dhoni. He had opened the batting on that occasion with KL Rahul and remained unbeaten on 55 to see India winning by 10 wickets. But he never got a chance to play for India again.

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Speaking to Sportstar during an interview, Fazal said he still harbours the dream of playing for India at 33. “It is not easy to get into the Indian team. To perform in Ranji consistently is also very difficult. Cricketers who have been playing international for long will agree on that. The wickets and conditions are different. There is a lot of travel. You tell me, who plays 11 Test matches in a row? We have been through that grind and all were high pressure games,” he said.

Fazal, who has over 7,800 runs in 113 first-class games with 19 hundreds, said the final was a big game for Vidarbha and that Ranji Trophy makes Indian cricketers. He gave the examples of players like Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara saying they got hardened in the domestic tournament before they played for India.

‘I want to play Test cricket’

When asked how he keeps himself going, Fazal said, “By god’s grace.” He said he has been performing consistently (752 runs in 2018-19 and 912 runs in 2017-18) and he still eyes to play for India, especially in Test cricket. He said it all depended now on the selectors. He said though Vidarbha won the Ranji last year as well, only one player from their ranks – Rajesh Gurbani – has played for India ‘A’.

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