Jaipur: Vineet Saxena, who captained Rajasthan in the absence of regular skipper Hrishikesh Kanitkar, has said not having a specialist spinner hurt them in their Ranji Trophy game against Madhya Pradesh, which ended in a draw with Rajasthan securing three points on the basis of getting the first innings lead.
"The lack of specialist spinner had really hurt us. If we had got one [specialist spinner] than we could have come out with an outright win from this match," Vineet said after the end of the final day's play at the KL Saina Stadium here. “We are disappointed as we could have got from points from this game.”
Rajasthan, who looked promising to secure an outright win after dismissing MP for just 256, could only manage a lead of 123 runs in their first innings. And they were denied further by some resolute batting by the MP batsmen in their second innings, with Naman Ojha scoring a century and Jalaj Saxena contributing with an unbeaten 76. The two MP batsmen helped the team to reach 466 for 6 before they asked the hosts to chase an unlikely target of 344 in the last session of the day.
Rajasthan's acting skipper said had they got a specialist spinner, they would have come out with an outright victory against MP.
Vineet although appreciated the performance of his team's pacemen, Rituraj Singh and Pankaj Singh - who took four wickets each in the first innings and shared two wickets apiece in the second innings, he said expecting them to get all the wickets in the second innings as well would be too much. "Both Rituraj and Pankaj bowled exceedingly well in the first innings. But we cannot ask them to provide us wickets even when the pitch was helping them much," he said. "A good spinner here could have been very handy as he would have given us breakthroughs in the middle session.”
The 31-year-old batsman also complimented the way MP batsmen batted in the second innings. "Naman and Jalaj really played well for them [MP]. Had we got one of them out early on in their innings, it would have changed the course of the game."
Devendra Bundela, the MP captain, said there had been lots of positives to take out from this match. "The way we batted in the second innings, in spite of 123 runs down, says a lot about the confidence this side has. Ishwar [Pandey, who got seven wickets in the match] too was exceptional with the ball," he said.
While Naman, whose ninth first-class century on Monday, took MP towards safety, while speaking to Cricketnext on Monday stressed on being consistent for the rest of the tournament, Jalaj, whose innings on Tuesday denied any chance that Rajasthan had after taking five wickets in the morning session on Tuesday, said his aim was just to stick to the wicket as much as possible.
"We lost too many wickets at the end of first session, so my and Rameez Khan [who too scored 54 and remained not out along with Jalaj when MP declared their innings at tea on Tuesday] plan was to play normal cricket. It's good that it helped the team," Jalaj said.