Monday, June 1, 2020

My Cricketing Insights - Parag Paigankar (4), Importance of Consistent, Match Winning Performances

In this piece, Parag explains how a player can get selected at a higher level by weight of consistent, math winning performances. He uses the example of Sanjay Manjrekar with whom he played school and university level cricket, and witnessed his rise to the Indian team.
Mumbai University side - 1984, Sanjay Manjrekar captain (sitting behind the cup), Parag Paigankar standing right behind Sanjay and Rajdeep Sardesai with the X T shirt
Cricket Insights (4) - Importance of scoring consecutive 100s n 200s
It is very important to understand a few critical aspects :-

- Performing big in one match and following it up with good average performances in subsequent matches is not good enough for getting selected in state and national teams.

- Having the best technique without outstanding performances to back that technique is also not enough to get you to the desired level

- Cricket is mainly a team game but an individual's outstanding performances within the team's performance stands out for recognition.

- If an individual player’s consecutive outstanding performances throughout the tournament helps the team to win tournament titles, then it gets noticed

In short, a player through sheer weight of his outstanding and consistent performances can bang open the selection gates so that then there is no scope for selectors to ignore you.

I am giving below an illustration of a player whom I had opportunity to play with in my school and college days to elaborate the above aspects

Sanjay Manjrekar - Case in Point 
Sanjay Manjrekar was my school, college and 1st year University captain and hero. He was 2 years senior to me. As we all know, he was son of former great Indian cricketer Vijay Manjrekar. It is not always an advantage to be son of a great cricketer as there are huge expectations.

From school days, Sanjay had great batting technique, style, class which can be seen by all. As a batsman, he was definitely a cut above the others and we juniors always looked up to him and tried our best to improve our technique and skills from his batmanship but never could reach his brilliance. Sanjay always batted at no. 4 in school, college and Varsity games (in all matches which I was witness to).

He scored at least one 100 per season in school tourneys and it was evident from all the knocks that class of his batmanship was of different level than others. Under his captaincy and through his batting, he enabled our school team to win Inter Schools tournament.

In school cricket, Sanjay was also very good leg spinner who used to spin the ball prodigiously and mesmerised the batsman with flight and turn. He took many wickets in school cricket and we seriously used to think he would go all the way both as class batsman and effective leg spinner. But after junior college, Sanjay decided to concentrate only on his batting and discontinued bowling leg spin.

In junior and senior college tournaments also, Sanjay made 100s and in his 1st year of senior college (age of 18 years) he scored a magnificent double hundred in 1983 finals and enabled Podar to win the Inter-college tournament emphatically.

In short his class as batsman in school and college tournaments was evident. But still Sanjay was not able to find his place in star studded Mumbai Ranji team.

1985 - Turning point

In 1985, Sanjay became the Captain of Mumbai's University team to be played at Baroda. I would say that I was one of the fortunate players to have got selected in that 1985 University team.

The Ist two matches were limited overs game which we won comfortably and there was not much scope for Sanjay to bat. Third match, quarter-finals, was also a limited overs game in which Sanjay got chance to bat and he scored a brilliant hundred. (My school and college friend Salil Datar coming at no. 5 also scored superb hundred in that game).

After that quarterfinals game, Sanjay did not look back nor was he content with just one hundred. He scored classy hundreds again in semi and final and we won West Zone University Tournament.

Fortunately, the All - India Inter University games for the Rohinton Baria Trophywere scheduled immediately after the West zone finals at Baroda. Two finalists from each zone played in All India University from quarter finals stage onwards.

Sanjay followed his 3 consecutive 100s in the West Zone tourney with 3 more 3 consecutive 100s in All India matches. Thus, Sanjay scored 6 consecutive 100s which enabled Mumbai to win All India Inter-University tournament. In all the 6 100s that he scored, there was clearly stamp and class of a great batsman

What I am trying to explain through Sanjay's illustration is that he was always considered a special talent from school days, was very good technically and was also scoring runs. But he could slam open the gates for himself for inclusion in Mumbai Ranji team only through sheer weight of those 6 consecutive 100s which could not be ignored as that performance was so outstanding and noticeable. Those hundreds helped Mumbai win both the West Zone and All India championships too.

Sanjay was selected in Mumbai Ranji team in 1986 and within a year in 1987 he made test debut. Thereafter, the rest is history.

Thanks Parag. That was a wonderful insight. Never be satisfied, keep going bigger and bigger, help your team to win, make it difficult to the selectors to ignore you, and when you get the chance, continue doing the same thing.

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