Thirty-one years ago at this very venue, Balwinder Singh Sandhu, a sturdy bowler, swung a Ranji tie in Mumbai’s favour with a five-wicket haul on his first-class debut against Gujarat. He went on to finish as a World Cup hero in 1983.
On Wednesday, a 24-year-old with the same name and a similar build ran through half the Punjab side on first-class debut to put the 39-time champions on top on the opening day of their final Ranji Trophy Elite League Group A encounter at the Wankhede Stadium.Sandhu (Jr) finished with 5-66 to help Mumbai bowl out the visitors for 226.
The first Ranji tie at the Wankhede since December 2007 was off to a sensational start when the hosts, opting to bowl first, scalped two wickets without conceding a run.
Aavishkar Salvi struck with the second ball of the match and Sandhu (Jr) claimed his maiden first-class wicket with his third ball. Salvi left the field with a side strain after bowling just three more balls but the 24-year-old Sandhu (Jr) made up for a lack of pace with a perfect line and the ability to move the ball.
Mumbai’s otherwise good day was marred by another injury, after opening batsman Sushant Marathe suffered a groin strain.