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Musheer Khan batted with ‘motivation to impress Sachin sir’ after spotting Tendulkar on big screen during Ranji final

Musheer Khan spoke about batting in front of the legendary former India batter Sachin Tendulkar during the Rani Trophy final

Mumbai and India Under-19 batter Musheer Khan got the motivation to convert his fifty into a century seeing Sachin Tendulkar in the stands during Day 3 of the 2023/24 Ranji Trophy final at the Wankhede Stadium. Musheer, who top-scored for Mumbai in their second innings of 418, and scored 136, has been in cracking form – his century coming on the back of a double-century in the quarterfinal against Baroda and a fifty in the semis against Tamil Nadu.

Musheer Khan (L) smashed a gritty century during the Ranji Trophy final against Vidarbha(PTI)

But for Musheer, the knock in the Ranji final promises to hold a special place as it not only has placed his team on the cusp of a 42nd title win but also made him the youngest Mumbai batter to score a century in the final of a Ranji Trophy – which coincidentally enough belonged to Tendulkar for 29 years.

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“I did not even know that Sachin sir was here. But when I was batting on 60, I saw on him on the big screen and (thereon) I batted with the motivation that he is watching today and I have to impress sir,” Musheer said after the match.

The Ranji Trophy final was graced by the presence of Tendulkar and India captain Rohit Sharma, days after both backed the BCCI’s instructions to players about prioritising First-class cricket. Hence, what a day it was for Musheer to make heads turn with a brilliant, potentially match-winning knock in front of the who’s who of India cricket.

Mumbai were 34/2, when Musheer and captain Ajinkya Rahane forged a 130-run partnership. Even though Rahane was dismissed for a well-compiled 73, the Mumbai innings was taken forward by Musheer’s alliance with Shreyas Iyer. Having failed in the previous two innings, Iyer smashed 95 off 111 balls and stitched another 168-run partnership as Mumbai set Vidarbha a gigantic 539-run target.

“I got to learn a lot during the partnerships. It is a matter of pride for me that I got to bat with two Test players, it becomes easier for me too. Everyone in their team was trying to get Ajju dada (Ajinkya Rahane) out and it becomes easier for me,” said Musheer.

“It was a dream for me to score a century in the Ranji Trophy final. Me and Iyer had a good partnership, we communicated well and (Iyer) bhai was insisting that we have to bat for long period and take the game as far as we can.”

Musheer pointed out that he was in full control of his innings and that he trusted his instincts when when he tried to take charge or put pressure on the bowler by dancing down the wicket and playing free-flowing shots. Musheer was confident that the countless hours he had spent practising the same will eventually pay off.

“When I was dropped from the Ranji Trophy (squad) last year, I got to learn a lot about the (need to) work on the technique. I have done a lot of preparations with abbu, there still is a lot to do. There are some wickets where the ball keeps coming straight at you but one odd-delivery cuts (from the pitch), hence I try to not let the bowler settle down and find the right spot to bowl at,” he said.

“Risk is there in everything. There is risk in defending too – what if there is a bat-pad situation to get out? But I have a lot of confidence with it; I have done a lot of preparation and practise by moving in the front. I am also ready for the bouncer. If someone bowls that, I can duck too. I move in the front but not with the intent to hit unless I get a half-volley.”

Sarfaraz’s advice

Musheer then revealed how brother Sarfaraz Khan’s advice helped him during his innings. When Sarfaraz scored a fifty on debut for India against England during the Rajkot Test, he got a surprise call in the evening from Musheer. And this time it was Sarfaraz who returned the favour.

“I had spoken with bhai earlier and he told me that this is a good opportunity for me in the final, with everyone watching. If I would make runs here, it would be better for me in the future,” Musheer added.

“When I got out (for cheap) in the first innings, (he told me) it’s okay, back yourself in the second innings and play your game. He told me to bat the way I found was comfortable.”


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