Bengal also missed the service of seamer Mohammed Shami who has been rested.
It was not an ideal beginning for ace batsman Cheteshwar Pujara in the final of the Ranji Trophy 2019-20 against Bengal in Rajkot as he felt ill after coming out to bat at No.6 on Day 1. He, however, returned to bat and stood like a rock on Day 2 as Saurashtra continued to build on their overnight score of 206 for 5 on the second day to put pressure on the opponent.
After a poor outing in New Zealand where he could manage only 100 runs in four innings and faced flak for slow batting, Pujara had very little time to switch to the domestic mode but he did well when his team needed him.
The red-ball specialist spoke to Mid-day.com in an interview where he spoke on a plethora issues and among them was the absence of ace all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja in Saurashtra’s ranks. Jadeja was not allowed to play the final as the Board of Control for Cricket in India said the national duty was more important than the domestic one and since Jadeja was part of the ODI squad for the upcoming three-ODI series against SA, he wasn’t given the nod.
‘It would have been an advantage for us’: Cheteshwar Pujara
On whether Saurashtra was missing Jadeja’s service, Pujara said– “He is not only a great bowler but also a great batsman in this format. We can do nothing since he will be on national duty. Yes, it would have been an advantage for us if Jadeja was here but I must say that his presence alone would not have made us winners. It is a team game and we have to play better cricket than our opponents in the five days—that’s what matters the most.”
In the 2018-19 season, too, Saurashtra did not get Jadeja in the final against Vidarbha since he was busy playing India in New Zealand. In 2012-13, Pujara missed playing the Ranji final against Mumbai since he was in the India squad playing England in ODIs at home.
Bengal also missed the service of seamer Mohammed Shami who has been rested. Saurashtra made their second successive Ranji final by defeating Gujarat by 92 runs while Bengal made the final after 2007 by thrashing Karnataka by 174 runs.