The Goa U-16 colts showed marked improvement in their performance when they held Pondicherry to a draw and earned their first three points in the Vijay Merchant Trophy tie being held at the Goa Cricket Association (GCA) ground in Porvorim on Friday.
After a sloppy start – where they were bowled for 80 by Kerala in their first match– Goa finished the first innings on 302, their highest so far, in the process proving the point made by coach Robin D’Souza that, “the boys would improve with match practice.”
The Goan lads not only finished the tie with three points but also finished with the highest score; highest individual score; and highest partnership of the season.
Sanath Nevagi scored 139 runs from 148 balls and he along with Veer Yadav recorded a partnership of over hundred runs for the seventh wicket.
Sanath’s stayed at the crease for 511 minutes and smashed the ball to the fence on 16 occasions. However, his running between the wickets robbed much glitz from his heroics. Sanath lacked a proper running stride and settled for singles when there were two runs in the asking.
“He has the brains of a 13-year old and the body of a sixteen year old. He needs to get his act together because his running deprived the team of about 50 runs. This is not acceptable and I will get this into him,” coach robin said after the match.
Pondicherry started their second innings needing to get past the lead of 36 runs that Goa had over them. At close of play on the last day they had scored 44 for the loss of one wicket. Veer Yadav finished as the second highest scorer for Goa with 43 runs.
“The boys play one thing when they are practicing with me and they change when the game starts. There is a change in attitude that needs to be worked on. But, I am happy with the way they have shaped up. They have come back into shape in less than three matches and that by itself is a good sign,” reasoned Robin.
In the four games of the Vijay Merchant Trophy, Goa has drawn two and lost two. They are now on three points with two more games to play for.
“Robin is very capable and he is showing. He does not talk for the sake of talking. If the boys listen to him, they have a future ahead, “Sharad Pednekar, GCA Director of coaching told this newspaper after Goa’s exploits.