Andhra did not even put up a fight against Saurashtra in the Ranji Trophy quarterfinal at the CSR Sharma College Ground in Ongole. Skipper K.S. Bharat feels some of his players lacked the energy.
In two innings, Saurashtra scored over 800 runs but Andhra couldn’t touch the 200 run-mark in either of its essays — 136/9 and 149/4 being the numbers. “We gave up little early. We had won three games here with a 7-4 [batsmen/pacers] combination. It was our choice to play here. The intensity with which we played the tournament, we could have been a little better. In big games, you need someone to capitalise on things like run outs and bowling better, straighter lines.
“You look at players like Virat Kohli and Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the energy they carry on the field is different. They are always brisk-walking, always in the moment. I felt that was missing in couple of our boys. That energy drives you from within, then you look at one ball at a time,” he said.
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Bharat agreed it wasn’t a wicket to be bowled out for 136. “If you are playing the quarterfinal, you have to put runs on the board. There is no way you can say that was a good ball and I played a bad shot. There are no ifs and buts. Playing a five-day game is not easy. You need to keep the mind and body in the right shape. We weren’t switched on for some reason.”
Yarra Prithviraj’s hamstring injury came as a blow to the home side as the left-arm pacer had claimed three wickets on Day 1. “It was a huge setback and another key moment in the game,” he added,
Individually, Bharat had a good outing behind the wicket with 12 dismissals — nine catches and three stumpings — under his belt. “I enjoy keeping. It will never go. Even in the 130th over, I would be jogging from one end to the other,” said the stumper who has been part of Team India as cover for Rishabh Pant and Wriddhiman Saha in recent times.