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Friday, 14 December, 2018

Maiden five-for a fulfilling moment for young pacer Vijesh

07th December 2018, 06:03 Hrs

Basil Sylvester Pinto   

Panaji 

Goa’s 21-year-old right-arm medium pacer, Vijesh Prabhudesai set alight Day 1 of the Ranji Elite Group C Rd V fixture against Services at GCA Academy ground, Porvorim on Thursday with extensive spells of speed, seam, rhythm and control to snap up his first five-wicket haul at any level of competitive cricket for the State cricket team. 

The unassuming lad from Cottombi, Quepem, in only his second First Class match had probing returns of 5 for 52 that included 10 maidens from 24 overs in Services first innings. Talking of the effort, Vijesh expressed satisfaction. 

“It was a great feeling to get a fifer and help the team. I always wish to contribute for my team. I hope to do well in the next innings and future games contributing to my team’s success,” the delighted lanky lad said. 

The promising speedster revealed that in this match (vs Services), he had more control over the ball. “The ball was swinging both ways and I was bowling in the correct areas. The line and length I bowled enabled me to pick the wickets. There was a little bit more help for the fast bowlers in the first 30-45 minutes,” the quick learner affirmed. 

On Ranji debut last week against Jharkhand at Porvorim, Vijesh had an erratic first spell going for runs aplenty, but as the game progressed and going into the next day, he had better control on the ball, to serve notice of his potential in Jharkhand’s second essay, where he pegged back the visitors early with two strikes before they eased their way to a seven-wicket win against the home team. 

In his debut First Class match against Jharkhand, Vijesh stated that the pitch was on the slower side. “I was trying to get some wickets there as well because as a fast bowler we have to do everything irrespective how the pitch may be,” he said. In an indifferent debut game, Vijesh had 1/73 to show in the first innings, and came back stronger with a telling spell that saw him get 2/22 to delay the inevitable defeat.

Talking of his first match as a Ranji player, Vijesh acknowledged the role of the Goa Head Coach in a marked improvement his performance as the game progressed. “Sir (Prakash Mayenkar) had told me to just focus on my line and length, bowl on off stick areas after my forgettable first spell,” the exciting pace prospect divulged. 

He also mentioned former India speedster, Ashish Nehra’s part in guiding him to better his initial performance. “Nehra told me to bowl on top of the off stick. He said that different pitches have different bounce and you have to exercise control on your delivery accordingly. He told me that on the pitch against Jharkhand which was on the slower side with less bounce, that I had to pitch it further to hit the off stick. He said that I had to concentrate more on the spot, single wicket bowling,” Vijesh stated. 

Incidentally, Nehra, who retired from all forms of cricket in November 2017 was at the Goa nets in the course of the match against Jharkhand for two days guiding his protégée. 

Vijesh Prabudessai recalls the first ball he bowled was as a pacer which impressed his teacher at Sarvodaya High School, Curchorem who told him he had decent pace and was soon inducted in the school team. He was 14. A year later, he gave trials for the GCA U-16 team and was included. He moved up the grade to be a part of Goa U-19 as well. Unfortunately, he was hit by a muscle tear in his first year which compelled him to slow down his pace for a year to get his rhythm back. Remarkably, in neither of the age-group levels, he got more than three wickets in an innings. While for Goa u-16, he had a 2-30 something in Vishakhapatnam, at the U-19 level he had a 3-40 against Delhi in an away game. 

On his thoughts of Goa’s performance to dismiss Services for 184 on the first day, he was quite content. 

“The score (184) could have been a little lower. A catch was dropped at second slip quite immediately after tea off Garg’s bowling by Snehal Kauthankar at second slip. But I got the same left-hander’s wicket later. I was happy that we controlled them for 180 odd,” Vijesh added.

With Goa 27/1 at stumps on Day 1, still 157 runs behind, Vijesh advocated a safety first approach to start with on Friday. “We have to bat well on this wicket which will help the bowlers in the first hour. After my second or third spell, the pitch was getting a little bit slower and helping the batsmen. Much of the same can be expected on the second day,” he assessed. 

While Vijesh is playing his second First Class game and proving his mettle as a pacer, it has to be also noted that he has played 6 List A matches earlier scalping seven sticks apart from turning up for three T20s at the senior level.