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Ranji Trophy: Hardik Tamore makes it count

While cricketers like Prithvi Shaw, Sarfaraz Khan and Armaan Jaffer among others have scored heavily in the Mumbai’s U-14 Giles and U-16 Harris Shield inter-school tournaments before representing Mumbai in age group and then senior level competitions, Hardik Tamore, is an exception. Tamore, who scored his maiden century in his fourth Ranji Trophy match against Madhya Pradesh at the Wankhede Stadium on Friday, used to stay at Chinchani in Palghar District—a good 148 kms from Churchgate—and did not play in the Mumbai Schools Sports Association-organised tournaments in his school days.

On Friday, thanks to Tamore’s 113 (12×4, 1×6) and Shams Mulani’s 70 (10×4) on Day Three, Mumbai are on the verge of their second outright win of the Ranji season, two months after their first win (against Baroda in their first match in December). In reply to Mumbai’s 238-5 declared in the second innings, the visitors are already two wickets down for 44 and need another 364 runs to win on the fourth and final day today.

An arduous journey
Though Tamore has represented Mumbai from the U-14 level, his journey has been anything but easy. He had to travel nearly 300 kms from Chinchani to Churchgate and back for his daily practice sessions right from the age of 13 and till he turned 18. “I used to wake up at 5am to come for practice at the Dilip Vengsarkar Academy at Oval Maidan. Finally, five years ago, my dad [Jitendra] decided to shift to Mahim,” said Tamore.

Hardik’s father recalled is son’s arduous journey. “Hardik studied at Tarapur Vidya Mandir in Boisar and did well for their cricket team in the U-14 inter-school tournament there. I requested his school team coach Prakash Parsule to allow him to change his school but he refused. Later, Deepak Patil [MCA’s ex-managing committee member], who watched Hardik play in Boisar, asked us to shift him to Mumbai for better prospects. Though we decided to continue his schooling at Tarapur, I sent him for selection trials to the Vengsarkar Academy and he got picked,” Tamore Sr told mid-day on Friday.

Grit and determination
Tamore, 22, who scored 21, 51 and two in his previous three innings, was dropped for the earlier match against Saurashtra last week and made to lead the Mumbai U-23 side instead. Determined to perform well against the Saurashtra U-23 team in Rajkot, he scored a century there. He played with the same grit yesterday, executing some fine back-foot punches and reverse sweeps. He reached his 50 off 75 balls (6x4s) and got his maiden Ranji century after tea with a trademark back-foot punch through covers. His 132-ball knock came to an end when he top-edged a sweep shot off leg-spinner Mihir Hirwani to first slip.

Meanwhile, bowling all-rounder Mulani, who was promoted to No. 5, ahead of top-order batsman Siddhesh Lad, reached his sixth half-century of the season off just 58 balls. Earlier, in the morning session, the MP innings lasted just 40 minutes, adding only 58 to their overnight tally of 200-7. Venkatesh Iyer, who was unbeaten on 87, fell short of what would have been his maiden century by seven runs. Ankush Jaiswal (4-58) was the wrecker-in-chief for Mumbai in the first innings.

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