'We bowled differently'

'We bowled differently'

Even as Tamil Nadu have steadfastly been avoiding the media, Rajasthan have basked in the glory of three excellent days of cricket, aware that they are within seven wickets of becoming the first team since Karnataka in 1998-99 to successfully defend their Ranji Trophy title.

One of the key movers behind their charge to a second straight crown has been diminutive middle-order batsman Robin Bist.

The 24-year-old is comfortably perched on top of the run-scorers’ chart with 942 runs from 10 matches at 85.63, inclusive of four hundreds and three fifties. His nearest competitor is team-mate Vineet Saxena, whose monumental 257 in the final has boosted his tally to 884.

“It feels good to be the highest run-getter,” said the modest Bist, who approached Sachin Tendulkar during the IPL and received tips from the Master which he said have helped him immensely.

Bist then turned his attention to the final that his team is primed to win after reducing Tamil Nadu to 66 for three in reply to their 621. “We have taken three crucial Tamil Nadu wickets, which is good for the team, but we have to take seven wickets more,” Bist observed. “Yes, Abhinav, Vijay and Badri are their three best batsmen, but Dinesh Kaarthick, Prasanna and Vasudeva Das are still to bat and they are good batsmen. We have to get them out as early as possible.

“Before this game, everyone was talking about Tamil Nadu's big-scoring batsmen, but we stuck to thinking that we need just one ball to get a batsman out,” he went on. “Cricket is a game, big names and big runs don't matter. It is that one ball from the bowler that can bring an end to any batsman. All we have to do is bowl in the right areas.”

Bist agreed that the Rajasthan bowlers had bowled differently – a stump-to-stump line – compared to the Tamil Nadu bowlers. “We did bowl a little different from Tamil Nadu,” he admitted. “This is a good track to bat on, a bowler has to apply himself. We just bowled to our plans and succeeded.

“There are many cracks on the wicket. It will be difficult taking wickets when the ball becomes old. But looking at today, 11 wickets have fallen, so it's not at all a dead track.”
Rajasthan upped the scoring ante on day three, and Bist said that was a conscious effort on the team’s part.

“We lost a few wickets due to our bid to accelerate the scoring. We had decided to reach 600 as early as possible. We were anyway planning to declare at tea, but we were bowled out at the stroke of the interval.”