Mumbai are all set to face Madhya Pradesh in the Ranji Trophy 2022 final, slated to be held at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore from June 22.
It will be Madhya Pradesh’s maiden appearance in the summit clash whereas Mumbai are the domestic powerhouse, having won the competition 41 times.
While the Mumbai team is led by Prithvi Shaw, Chandrakant Pandit is associated with Madhya Pradesh as a coach.
Notably, Pandit was Shaw's first domestic cricket coach when he was growing up in Mumbai.
"I think it is very proud to be captain of Mumbai. Five years back, playing in the finals, Chandu sir was the coach, and playing against him, it is going to be really challenging for us, whoever is playing. Really proud to be captaining Mumbai. Looking back at five years, my first stint in 2016-17 and after that captaining Mumbai in Vijay Hazare and now leading in Ranji Trophy, it is a proud feeling for me. I hope to take this Cup back home," said Shaw during a press conference on the eve of the match.
Shaw last played for India during the white-ball tour to Sri Lanka in 2021. He was recently overlooked for the two-T20I tour of Ireland. However, the 22-year-old isn’t thinking about the national selection and currently focusing to get the job done for Mumbai.
"It's nowhere near my mind you know - comeback to the Indian team. Getting the Cup is my main motive and not thinking anything other than winning this one. The finals are from tomorrow, so I am not thinking about anything else. The preparation we have done is just for Ranji Trophy, not focusing on what is going on outside. This is really important as well, winning this Ranji Trophy and getting those happy moments back," he added.
Prithvi looked in good touch in the quarter-final and semi-final, slamming half-centuries against Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.
Reflecting on his own performance, Shaw said: "I scored a couple of fifties, but that isn't enough for me for sure. No one even congratulated me after scoring those fifties. So, in that sense, I feel bad as well. But I'm glad my team is doing well. As a captain, you have to take that as well - all the 21 players I've got here."
"It isn't just about me. In cricket as well as in life, the graph always goes up and down. It is never always going to go up. It's just a matter of time before I middle the ball again and get those big runs. Right now, I'm just really thinking about my team, make sure they're taking care of themselves," he added.
Talking about the final against Madhya Pradesh, the Mumbai skipper said: "This is going to be a pressure game for everyone, it's a young side. Not many of them have played these kinds of finals and are not that experienced. But I think they're ready for this. Looking at the batters we've got, we've got a good, talented and skillful side. Hopefully, what they're achieving right now, they can carry on for one more game."
(With NDTV inputs)