What do you expect from a bowler who has more than 400 first-class wickets to his name? Add more wickets to his impressive collection, isn’t it? However, that has not been the case with Mumbai’s most successful off-spinner Ramesh Powar this season.
The 34-year-old bowler has been in an indifferent form this Ranji Trophy season with only four wickets in as many games. It is strange, particularly from a bowler who has been Mumbai’s backbone in the bowling department over the last decade.
Although one would not blame the bowler alone for the kind of flat tracks that Mumbai have played on in their first three games, Powar had no excuse for not delivering on the sporting Brabourne Stadium track in their last match against Bengal.
Against Bengal, Powar sent down four overs in the first innings for figures of one for 16, the wicket being that of Wriddhiman Saha. In Bengal’s second innings, he had none for 42 from 15 overs.
Perhaps, Powar is losing his guile and nip that he used to get previously. The flight, line and the turn seem to be intact but ball that he used to surprise batsmen is rarely seen these days.
Powar’s statistics in the first half of the season isn’t really favouring the seasoned bowler, but Mumbai’s cricketing fraternity still have faith in the 34-year-old.
“Ramesh Powar is Mumbai’s highly successful bowler and the best off-pinner the city has ever seen,” said Milind Rege, a former Mumbai skipper and an off-spinner himself. “Overall, the pitches that they have played on have been flat and batting beauties. He has got a bit older and has become slight round, but he has still got the guile. I think he needs more match practice. Once he gets into the groove, he will be an outstanding bowler.”
Rege added: “There is no off-spinner in Mumbai who is even remotely closer to him,” he said. Mumbai captain Ajit Agarkar, too, backed his teammate saying that he has confidence in his abilities. “He (Powar) is the best we have and hope he turns around his form quickly,” said Agarkar.
Before the tongues starts wagging and the call for his head begins, Powar will hope to come good in the second half of the season. And, Mumbai’s next match against Punjab at the Wankhede from Saturday would be a perfect platform for the veteran to show his class all over again.