Vidarbha topped group A in the league stages of the tournament. Vidarbha was fifth place in the points table before winning with a bonus point against Haryana that rose them to the top spot in the points table. Vidarbha has reached the quarter-final stage for the second year in a row.

According to batsman Faiz Fazal, who is Vidarbha’s leading run-getter this season with 514 at 42.83, the hard work done between seasons has paid off for a team that struggled to compete with the top tier of Ranji teams over the past decade. “We were very well prepared to come into this season. Even last year we did well, but this season we were better trained, more confident. You saw the positivity in the pre-season camp. Technically, physically and mentally we were very clear-minded,” he tells TOI Sports.

And the key to that is out fitness. The support staff have worked hard this season to ensure that we are damn fit side. I think we’re fulfilling that aim.”

Paras coming in as coach, he’s the main guy behind this. We owe a lot to him,” says Fazal, who noticed the signs of a positive season when the teams turned up for the first camp ahead of the Ranji Trophy. “We were very well prepared to come into this season. Even last year we did well, but this season we were better trained, more confident. You saw the positivity in the pre-season camp. Technically, physically and mentally we were very clear-minded.”

“It isn’t reflecting in the numbers for Badri bhai and Wasim bhai…. I mean, none of them has 400-500 runs … but these players have been extremely influential for us,” says Wakhare. “They are helping us in so many ways. Aside from the experience they bring collectively, its when they can get the 30s and 40s in pressure situations that they actually make a difference. This season, the 30s and 40s are becoming more crucial. This has been a low-scoring season where we’ve played a lot of cricket on turning tracks, and when someone like Wasim bhai or Badri bhai gets a crucial 35-odd, that is really helping the team. A 30-40 from Wasim bhai is crucial, believe me. Badri bhai leading the side that has been inspirational.”

Vidarbha has performed exceptionally well this season with the win over Assam and Haryana as special ones. “The bonus point win over Haryana was very important,” he says. “The spinners did a great job. It was a turning track, but the work has to be done. And it was, very convincingly. We were very focused to win this match because it was a do-or-die situation. Ravi coming in and performing like that, to get a hundred and 11 wickets, that was excellent. Ravi getting that hundred may have spurred him on to come out and take seven-wicket in their second innings. You never know how you can get confidence. We wanted to bat long and bat once. Myself getting a good start, then Ravi and Aditya coming in and scoring hundreds that allowed us to push for a win through our spinners.”

Vidarbha will be looking to continue their great form in the quarter-final.

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    I am pavan Suresh. I have done my schooling from LPS. I am big fan of sports especially cricket and want to become a sports journalist. I want to write cricket articles.

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