Ranji Trophy 2024: Jharkhand’s Virat Singh Looks to Make it Big with Multiple Centuries


“Mere hath mein sirf perform karna hai and I’m focusing on doing that,” says Jharkhand captain Virat Singh who has scored a couple of hundreds and a fifty in this Ranji Trophy season.

Despite scoring consistently in the domestic circuit, Virat didn’t find a place for himself in the India ‘A’ side and also went unsold in the IPL 2024 auction. Nevertheless, the 26-year-old’s focus is to notch up as many runs as possible in the domestic circuit and leave a mark.

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After the conclusion of Jharkhand’s fixture against Services that ended in a draw, the Jharkhand skipper talked about the side’s performance in the Ranji season so far, India ‘A’ & IPL omission and his time while playing club cricket in Durham.

Excerpts

Were you expecting the India ‘A’ call-up? If yes, are you disappointed with the omission?

Yes, I’m a bit disappointed. I was expecting a call-up for India ‘A’ that was picked recently. But no worries. I can just perform and that’s the only controllable I have. When there would be a vacancy and when the selectors would feel like picking me, the call-up will come. So, what’s gone is gone now. We have our matches left in Ranji season and need to perform in that. Hopefully, they will make India ‘A’ team in future and I’m aiming for that.

Talking about the IPL, were you disappointed to go unsold this time around?

See, when you are not picked in the IPL, a player surely gets disappointed especially when you know you are going well in white-ball. If you look at the SMAT, I notched up 259 runs in 6 matches at a strike-rate of over 154. Despite scoring runs at the domestic tournament if I’m not getting picked in the IPL, there is something that I need to improve.

Moreover, I’m a top-order batter and what I realised after the auction is that all the teams have a lot of top-order batters already. We have a mega auction next year. I’m just hopeful that I will find a place in one of the teams.

I was with SRH for two years (2020 & 2021). I didn’t get any chance in the first year. But next year, when I got the chance I was absolutely ready for it. I should have grabbed the chances that I got but we also need to take into consideration about where did I get the chance and against which team. I got the chances where the teams were scoring 120-130.

If you remember, during the COVID-19 time, we were playing in Chennai where the track was turning and 125-130 was the par score. I wasn’t the only one who struggled there. Almost everyone struggled with the bat in those conditions. The second leg was in Dubai where I didn’t really get the chance and that was surely disappointing.

I scored two fifties in the practice games. Then also, I didn’t get the chance. Later, in the auction, I thought I was going to get picked by SRH because I had scored runs in the practice games but that didn’t really happen. You of course get a bit disappointed but can’t really do much about it. The only thing you can do is come back and perform in domestic circuit and that’s what I have been doing in the last two years.

There have been multiple instances where you have come in as a saviour for your side. Can you tell us how do you plan your innings when the team is in a tricky situation?

See, when you play First-class cricket, you have to be ready for the challenges. That’s why we are labelled as FC players. I have been given the captaincy by JSCA. When you are given the responsibility, you have to take the ownership.

You have a lot of senior and experienced players in the side. How helpful is that for you as you are leading the team right now?

It’s really helpful. We have 3-4 players who have played 100 FC games. (Shahbaz) Nadeem bhaiya, Saurabh (Tiwary) bhaiya or Varun (Aaron) bhaiya, all of them are very experienced players. Having them in the unit is very helpful for me as all of them have led the Jharkhand side previously. It’s definitely- good for the upcoming young players as well.

It’s not really challenging and in fact it’s very helpful for me to have seniors around. All the seniors are very supportive.

Personally what changes have you made in your batting style?

I have worked on my mindset and of course, have added some strokes in my arsenal. I have been consistently performing for the last two-three years but this year I had one thing in my mind that if I’m going to get in, I’m going to make it big. I have been scoring runs and I want to end up scoring four, five or maybe six tons and not just two or three.

I’m more of a grafter. I’m not really a slogger. The one who bats at number 5 or 6 in T20s is kind of a slogger who can go out there and hit sixes consistently and score at a quick pace. I’m more of a top-order batter who goes and takes some time and when the ball comes in my areas, I go for the shots.

Talking about adding the strokes, I have started using the sweep shot more often especially on turning tracks.

Jharkhand just have three points in three matches. What has been the talk like in the dressing room?

We have only got three points in three games. The talk in the dressing room is that we are not just playing to participate in the tournament. We will go for the kill.

We are playing the next four games at home. So, hopefully, we will have turning tracks there because we just have three points in three matches and we have some quality spinners in the line-up. So, hopefully, we will have turning tracks.

The four games that we will be playing at home, I’m going to make it very clear that we are going to make a result-oriented wicket and go for the kill. We want seven (points).

Is pace bowling a problem right now for Jharkhand in this Ranji Trophy season?

I won’t shy away from saying that our fast bowlers haven’t been able to bowl in one area consistently. The red-ball format is one where you have to hit the particular areas. The more you are consistent, the more you get the result. We will have to get consistent in upcoming games.

Tell us about your experience of sharing dressing room with MS Dhoni.

We do have conversations with him as and when he is free. We were playing Vijay Hazare (in 2016-17) and during that period he talked to me about my technique and fitness. I wasn’t having the greatest of run then but his words motivated me. Of course, when it comes from the captain of the Indian team (Dhoni was leading Team India then) you get inspired to work hard and I continued that.

What learnings did you get while playing club cricket in Durham in 2018?

When you are playing as a pro, there is a bit of extra responsibility on you that you have to take the team through. I learnt a lot then.

Talking about the conditions, there is surely a lot of difference. The weather is generally overcast, the balls are different compared to what we use here. One thing that I have learnt playing there is that no matter wherever you are, you have to adapt quickly.

Do you think a T20 league in Jharkhand can be beneficial for the upcoming players?

As far as I know, the scouts watch these leagues very closely. If I’m not wrong, Jharkhand was the one state that started it but we didn’t continue it. So, we would like to request the secretary and have a league like that which can be televised. It will be really beneficial for the players to go to the next level.



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