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Tough task for weakened Goa in one-dayers | Cricket News

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Panaji: The Goa squad for the Vijay Hazare Trophy one-day tournament to be held in Surat will be a weakened one.
For a start, there is no coach Dodda Ganesh who has resigned citing health issues, while former India pacer and professional recruit, Ashoke Dinda, retired from all forms of cricket following an injury during the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament last month.
Though Dinda made little impact during his short stint, Goa will miss out on a professional player.
Team sources, though, believe it is coach Ganesh’s strategies that helped the team during last year’s Ranji Trophy campaign and Syed Mushtaq Ali, where they finished fourth in the group.
“There is no doubt he devised plans and got players to execute it well, but we trust Ninad Pawaskar (batting coach) and Rahul Keni (fielding). They will step in for him,” said Goa Cricket Association secretary Vipul Phadke.
With Ganesh resigning, GCA asked Prakash Mayekar, director of coaching and cricket operations, to accompany the team to Gujarat, along with Pawaskar and Keni.
Goa have been drawn in Group A along with Baroda (February 20), Gujarat (Feb 22), Chhattisgarh (Feb 24), Tripura (Feb 26) and Hyderabad (Feb 28).
Goa will have to watch out for Smit Patel, who left for Baroda after playing a season with Goa. They will face the U-19 World Cup winner in the opener on Saturday, and although Smit’s replacement, Eknath Kerkar, has proved his worth, Goa will be wary of Smit’s attacking batting.
“Cricket is a team game and our focus will be on the overall team and not just one individual. There are 10 other players who can take the game away from us. We are focused on our players and performance,” said Mayekar.
Players like Snehal Kauthankar, Aditya Kaushik, captain Amit Verma are all capable of playing big innings, while Goa have a good pace attack and plenty of allrounders.
“There is no doubt that we are a talented bunch. Snehal and Aditya are due for a big one. Darshan, Amulya are both allrounders. Eknath has been scoring runs. We have confidence in our boys to do well,” said Mayekar.
Suyash Prabudessai, who has now been picked up by Royal Challengers Bangalore, sparkled in T20s with his batting skills for Goa. The 23-year-old is one to look out for, while pacers Lakshay Garg and Felix Alemao have been the backbone of Goa’s attack.

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