India U-19 skipper Unmukt Chand might not have grabbed all the headlines had Ankit Bawne not been caught for age irregularity — he was overage by a few months.
Bawne, the original India U-19 skipper, was sacked ahead of a quadrangular World Cup preparatory tournament and the BCCI handed Unmukt the captaincy. The rest is history.
The former junior teammates came up against each other at the Roshanara Club grounds, where a lively track tested batting skills. Maharashtra's Bawne, struggling to score big this season despite playing on a few featherbeds, made an impressive 58 to notch up his fourth fifty on the trot. Unmukt, who has showed only flashes of his brilliance this season, was bowled for 12 by a beauty from Samad Fallah that opened him up and sent the off-stump flying. Delhi closed at 60/3 in reply to Maharashtra's 196 on Day One of their Ranji tie.
“What's lost can't be undone,” said Bawne, when asked about missing out on the adulation the U-19 World Cup winners got. While Unmukt catapulted himself into an elite league, Bawne may have to cover that extra mile to gain recognition. Neither seems to be doing enough though.
“At Ranji, you have experienced bowlers, so it is more difficult than U-19 level,” said Delhi coach Vijay Dahiya, disappointed with Unmukt's failure. “The team was counting on him this season.”
In the morning, Sumit Narwal and debutant Vikas Tokas scalped the Maharashtra top four before Bawne steadied the ship. He was backed by Srikant Mundhe (42). In reply, Delhi lost Unmukt, Mohit Sharma — also to a Fallah beauty that darted into the stumps — and skipper Shikhar Dhawan, who was caught short going for a needless run.
Brief scores Maharashtra 196 (A Bawne 58; S Narwal 3/35) v Delhi 60/3 (S Fallah 2/23)