From Independence to Ranji, Kanitkar has seen it all

The name Hrishikesh Kanitkar evokes memories of the famous victory over Pakistan in the finals of the Independence cup at Dhaka. In a tense match, the southpaw hit the winning boundary when India chased down a 300-plus total with one ball remaining.

However, Kanitkar`s international career was a short lived one as he managed to play in two Tests and 34 ODIs. The veteran, however, continued playing in the domestic circuit successfully. His biggest moment of domestic career arrived when he led Rajasthan to their maiden Ranji title as a captain in the 2010-11 season. To prove that it wasn`t just a fluke, he led them to a second consecutive triumph in the following season as well, making them only the fifth team to win the title in successive seasons.

The soft spoken captain points out the team work and the camaraderie among the staff and players as the reasons for their back to back success.

Kanitkar spoke to`s Feroz Khan after lifting the coveted trophy for the second time.

Excerpts from the conversation:

How would you rate your team`s performance this season as compared to the last one?

The performance has been equally good. It has been a great victory. It was quite easy in the end but nevertheless, it was a result of a good team performance and few very good individual performances as well.

How would you rate Tamil Nadu as an opponent considering their team has been the most consistent performer throughout the season but their batting failed against your team in the final? Did they surrender too easily?

No, I think Tamil Nadu is a very good team with a good batting line-up. We batted for quite a lot of time in this game, nearly three days, and it is not easy to field that long and bat immediately afterwards. I won`t blame their batsmen for the loss.

From captaining a side that wasn`t even in the reckoning two years back, to becoming the back to back champions, how has been the journey?

It has been a brilliant experience. I`ll cherish that forever. It was one thing that I`ve never achieved in my career and I am glad to have done it twice.

The amount of pressure that the tag of being defending champions is immense. How did you and your team managed to cope with that?

We weren`t thinking of that, we just took one day at a time, winning one match at a time. So, the pressure didn`t affect us.

What do you think was the crucial point that made it possible for Rajasthan to defend their title considering that at one point the team was on the verge of elimination?

Without a doubt it is our teamwork and the way we play as a team. We enjoy each other’s success and I think that has been our strength.

Who do you think was the best performer for Rajasthan this year? What about Robin Bist? Can he play for India in the near future?

Robin Bist and Vineet Saxena, both have a very good future and I do hope that they play for the Indian cricket team in the future.

What were the main reasons behind the success of Rajasthan as a team?

Both on and off the field it has been our teamwork as I have said earlier. We gel as a team and we play as one. We do not depend on one or two individuals to do all the hard work.

What about the roles of other staff apart from the players?

It is a brilliant combination of experience and youth. We plan and execute our plans really well. There is a very good camaraderie between players and the support staff that has been the reason behind our success.

What is your opinion about the current points system? Is this the reason behind team’s inclination for getting 1st innings lead rather than outright win?

See, this is the point system that we have been playing under for a few years now and that is how we plan every match. I haven`t really thought about the points system and how they make a difference.

Do you think that board should take more responsibilities and prepare sporting pitches for Ranji Trophy?

As per the final game, the pitch wasn`t that easy to score on and it was difficult to even stay on the crease. It wasn`t a green top but not easy for batting either. As far as the board`s responsibility, we as a player can`t comment on that.

Any plans for the immediate future? IPL...

I haven`t thought of that yet. Hope that I might get something but nothing yet so far.

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