Wins at important times made the difference: Bhave

Maharashtra’s convincing wins over Mumbai (quarterfinal) and Bengal (semifinal) have upped the morale of the team going into the Ranji Trophy final against Karnataka, felt coach Surendra Bhave. 

“I think it’s the wins at important times that have made the difference to this team,” said Bhave after his team’s practice session here on Tuesday. “Beating Mumbai in the quarterfinal at Wankhede was good and the Bengal match we finished in three days which was even better. So the team feels that they have the material and they have the players to beat anyone in India and that obviously helps,” he noted.

The self belief, Bhave thought, is the reason behind Maharashtra’s dream run. “I think the players are the same and it was the self belief that was going to be important,” he pointed out. “I think the players learn much better when the team is winning. Sometimes we say losing and defeats give you good lessons and they do but if you keep winning that makes a massive difference because as a unit when you become confident it shows in your performances. And this season right from the beginning, when we picked up a win against Tripura, there has been a steady progress in our bowling and fielding departments. Batting, we were always confident,” he offered.

Bhave, who was the losing captain when Maharashtra entered the final in 1992-93 against Punjab, conceded there are going to be nerves. “The usual trick is to say it’s just another game but everyone knows it’s not,” he said when asked about the pressure of playing in the final. “... And it’s good to feel that pressure. It’s better to be in the final than imagining what it would be it like to be in the final. We are giving (final) its due importance but then again throughout the season we have concentrated on playing the sessions correctly and winning sessions. So it’s another day-to-day and session-to-session process for these guys. And winning all those games will definitely have a bearing on this game,” he reasoned.

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