Mumbai: Mumbai captain Ajit Agarkar said his side's Ranji Trophy Group A league match against table-toppers Punjab, starting here at the Wankhede Stadium on Saturday, is crucial from the point of view of the team's progress to the knockout stage of the tournament.
"We are third in the group and we still have to play two teams who are ahead of us. I don't think we are going to get too many seaming tracks when we travel away from Mumbai, or [even] a turner. We have seen the scores in Rajkot and I don't expect much in Rajkot [against Saurashtra]. We have got another game in Indore [against Madhya Pradesh], that is why it is even more important," said Agarkar on Friday.
Mumbai have 10 points from four games while Punjab, who are leading the pool table, have 29 from five and are virtually through to the next stage.
Agarkar said skipper Harbhajan Singh's presence in the Punjab line-up is a big boost to the side. "Any international player who is currently with the team, coming back to a state team, is a big boost. A guy who has got 400 Test wickets is a big player," he said.
Agarkar, who is coming into the game after missing the earlier three games due to a calf injury, said that it would be a good contest. "They are the in-form team. They are miles ahead of everyone in the group. Obviously, the team that is best at the moment. We would like to play well," said the pacer.
Talking about the injury, Agarkar said though he was fit for the previous game against Bengal played at the Brabourne Stadium, he did not risk playing without having done enough bowling in the nets. "It was frustrating. I was probably fit to play the last game but I had not had enough bowling. That is why I had to take that extra week to prepare myself," he said.