Hyderabad: With Hyderabad qualifying to the elite group after a gap of five years, there is a sense of victory for the four-member selection committee of P Jyothi Prasad, RA Swaroop, Ramanamurthy and Ethesham Ali Khan.
Chairman of selectors Prasad had no hesitation in praising the good work of coach Bharat Arun and skipper S Badrinath. “Bharat Arun’s role as coach and Badrinath’s experience really helped Hyderabad to come on top. But the players have to realise their potential. They can perform much better. They should be hungry for success,’’ he said.
The former Ranji swing bowler of the 70s said their investment for the last two years has been fruitful this season. “The only disappointment was the batting was inconsistent. We were doubtful about our bowling department but it came good and in the end the batting deprived us the opportunity to play in the semifinals. I feel, if these players work hard, they can play higher grade.’’
Prasad was critical of the batsmen. “If you look at the batting performances, Akshath Reddy, Anirudh got hundreds in the early matches and then they did not have any big scores except for Anirudh who got 84 not out against Mumbai. B Sandeep got double hundred and hundred but did not follow it up with big ones. Then we had Tanmay, after being dropped, came back into form and got two hundreds in one match. We did not have many big partnerships that proved a little disappointing.’’
The mindset among the batsmen, according to Prasad, should change. “The application and attitude should change. Unless they are serious about their cricket, they cannot make it big. They have to focus on playing longer innings. When a player is in form, he should get the runs throughout the season.’’
But Prasad was all praise for the three seamers. “M Ravi Kiran, Chama Milind and Mohd Siraj bowled splendidly and we emerged champions in the Group C. They bowled exceedingly well. On neutral venues, these bowlers got advantage to bowl on some green and helpful wickets. I felt very happy. Siraj got 40-odd wickets, Milind some 35 and Kiran getting 36 wickets.
“Ravi Kiran is very good in short spells. I think he has to work on fitness. They should be match winners, getting six or seven wickets. That is the reason I was happy that Siraj and Milind got five-wickets hauls in the Mumbai match. A bowler should learn to bowl his side to victory with six or seven wickets in an innings and winning the matches.’’
Prasad felt Milind is a much improved bowler. “As a left-arm seamer, he was always a promising bowler and also a utility batsman. He does not apply himself as a batsman. In bowling, Bharat Arun’s inputs have helped all three seamers. Milind will be more dangerous bowler if he starts getting the ball in. If he improves his fitness and adds extra yard of pace, Milind can be one of the top bowlers in the country.’’
Prasad pointed out Siraj is the number one strike bowler for Hyderabad. “He gave some crucial breakthroughs for the team. He is really quick and with a little more experience he can be groomed into a very good bowler. If he starts working with Bharat Arun, then he will be more sharp.’’
Prasad did admit the spinners were a little disappointing. “I expected a lot from Akash (Bhandari) though he did take wickets. (Mehdi) Hasan is not a really turner of the wicket. He kept one end tight.’’
Prasad was happy with wicketkeeper K Sumanth’s show. “As a keeper, Sumanth did not drop too many catches. There were one or two bad matches. I still he is the best bet as Hyderabad wicketkeeper.’’
The selector said there were a couple of youngsters like Rohit Rayudu, Saketh Sai Ram, Tanay Tyagaran, A Akash, all rounder Ravi Teja. “If they get more exposure, they will become good. They should work harder and take the league games more seriously.’’