Team’s leading wicket-taker feels confident of breaking the 72-year title jinx when the underdogs take on Karnataka in the Ranji Trophy finals

Mumbai:Maharashtra’s leading wicket-taker Akshay Darekar, was a four-year toddler when the state team last played in the Ranji Trophy final, which they lost to Punjab. 21 years later, Darekar has his work cut when Maharashtra take on Karnataka in the grand finale starting in Hyderabad from today.

The 25-year-old, slow left-arm spinner, Darekar, has been in a rich vein of from as so far he has taken 32 wickets from 10 matches at an average of 28.40.  He is all fired up for the contest and is confident that he and his teammates would rise to the occasion. “We are confident of doing well in the final,” he said.

“But to win the title, we have to ensure that we think positively and play with the same kind of attitude as we did in all the previous matches. Like be very professional, be mentally strong and play hard and aggressive,” he said on the sidelines of his match for Jain Irrigation against Andhra Bank in the 10th All India Dr. D.Y. Patil T20 Cup, at the D.Y. Patil Stadium, Nerul.

Darekar, a resident of Shivaji Park, Dadar, the nursery of Mumbai cricket, will take no further part in this tournament, even though Jain Irrigation are virtually assured of qualifying for the quarter-finals, which is scheduled for January 30.
The former India ‘A’ player Darekar is a picture of modesty when dwelling on his bowling exploits for Maharashtra.

“So far I have taken the most wickets for Maharashtra. But I shared the burden equally with my other colleagues. Samad Fallah (31 wickets), Shrikant Mundhe (30) and Anupam Anklecha, who has supported us in picking up wickets when the team needed them,” said the humble Darekar.

He also attributed their success to the batting department and coach Surendra Bhave. “All our batsmen are in top form and have played match-winning innings. Kedar Jadhav has crossed 1,000 runs this season and opener Harshad Khadiwale is on the threshold of crossing the milestone. Our coach Surendra Barve (Sir) is very good and had infused confidence into us and the belief that if we try hard we can win,” he mentioned.

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