GU­JARAT’S NEW IN­NINGS

Amit Shah’s man­age­ment meth­ods have helped craft the Gu­jarat cricket team’s suc­cess story

India Today - - INSIDE - By Uday Mahurkar

They all thought it was a bit of a pipe-dream. Amit Shah’s stated aim of mak­ing the Gu­jarat cricket team one of the best in the coun­try when he took charge as vice-pres­i­dent of the Gu­jarat Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion (GCA) in 2009, was re­ceived by other of­fice­bear­ers with some deri­sion. As was the then as­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Naren­dra Modi’s prom­ise of bring­ing a new pro­fes­sion­al­ism to the game.

Eight years on, with Shah tak­ing over as GCA pres­i­dent af­ter Modi moved to Delhi as prime min­is­ter in 2014, the BJP chief ’s words have proved prophetic. The crick­et­ing fra­ter­nity was agog on Jan­uary 14 when Gu­jarat trumped Mum­bai in the Ranji fi­nals to fi­nally take the tro­phy home. And this was no fluke, com­ing close on the heels of wins in both one-day (Vi­jay Hazare Tro­phy, 2015-16) and T-20 (Syed Mush­taq Ali Tro­phy, 2014-15). In fact, Gu­jarat is the first team to have won in all three for­mats of the game.

Be­fore the turn­around, Gu­jarat had been among the more poorly per­form­ing cricket teams in the coun­try, hav­ing only ever made it to the Ranji tro­phy fi­nal once and that too over five decades ago (the state has two other teams in the Ranji tro­phy, Saurash­tra and Bar­oda). Just one GCA player, Parthiv Pa­tel, had made it to the na-

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