Ranji Trophy 2022-23: Madhya Pradesh have won three out of three matches so far, What’s working for Madhya Pradesh this season?
When Madhya Pradesh (MP) won the 2022 Ranji season, beating a strong Mumbai in the final, critics were not effusive in their praise for the champions. It could be because critics didn’t give MP even a slight chance to stand tall against the mighty Mumbai, who had won 41 titles before that final. But MP defied all odds to lift their first Ranji Trophy title.
And in the ongoing 2022-23 season, MP are living up to their billing as defending champions, winning all their three matches so far. Two of their wins have come via innings margins against Jammu & Kashmir and Chandigarh, while they were pushed against the wall against Railways, but came out triumphant by 2 wickets.
So, what’s working for MP so far?
Complete team effort
Both Madhya Pradesh batters and bowlers have been in top form since the last Ranji season. They have complemented each other well. MP do not boast of any big star players. But they have quality players who apart from doing well in Ranji, have also performed for their Indian Premier League (IPL) teams and for India in the limited opportunities they have received.
The likes of pace bowler Avesh Khan and top-order batter Rajat Patidar are in the league of top international players, and their performances have helped MP dominate teams in the ongoing Ranji season. Patidar has three fifties in 4 innings already, while Avesh has 15 wickets in 3 games. Avesh also scored a match-winning 25-ball 30 not out in the fourth innings to take MP to a win by 2 wickets against Railways.
Besides them, they have openers Yash Dubey and Himanshu Mantri who have been in top form themselves. Kumar Kartikeya, the left-arm wrist spinner, is also making a statement with his performances, taking 18 wickets in 3 games so far. All-rounder Saransh Jain walked away with the player of the match award in the game against Railways, taking a match haul of 6 wickets and scoring 68 runs in total. Batter Shubham Sharma and captain Aditya Shrivastava have pitched in with their contributions in the three matches so far, making it a complete team effort.
The influence of coach Chandrakant Pandit
The former India cricketer has turned strugglers into champions. He had a successful stint as coach of Mumbai before coaching Vidarbha to two consecutive Ranji Trophy wins in 2018 and 2019. He then coached MP to a Ranji Trophy title in the 2022 season.
Pandit has transformed teams from being competitors to champions. He has imbibed fighting skills in his players, who have not given up or been awed by the situation or opponents. It can be said that it was Pandit’s calm influence that guided MP to victory against a star-studded line-up of Mumbai in the final of Ranji Trophy 2022.
What’s next for Madhya Pradesh?
Madhya Pradesh next face Vidarbha, the Ranji champions in 2018 and 2019, who were then coached by Pandit himself. Hence, Pandit will definitely have a few tips to share with his players ahead of the clash against Vidarbha beginning at the Holkar Stadium in Indore on January 3.
Post this match, MP face Gujarat, Punjab and Tripura. They should top the Elite Group D and are clear favourites to reach the final and retain the title.