Vidarbha should carefully treat Rohit Dattatraya: Subroto Bannerjee

NAGPUR: At just 17, he is seen an the rising star in Vidarbha cricket.

Rohit Dattatraya has won more BCCI trophies than any other player in Vidarbha. Dattatraya’s journey to glory started in 2014-15, when he played his part in Vidarbha’s victory in Central Zone Rajsingh Dungarpur Trophy. His magical performance was one of the prime reasons for Vidarbha’s maiden BCCI triumph in 2015-16 when Vidarbha won the Vijay Merchant Trophy. Earlier this January, he played a crucial role in Vidarbha’s Cooch Behar win. Now, he is part of the team which has won the Vinoo Mankad One-day Trophy too.

Dattatraya again emerged the highest wicket-taker in the tournament with 28 wickets in 11 matches at an average of 17.57. He had two four-wicket hauls besides and a five wicket-haul in the final

After his latest heroics, many want him to be rubbing shoulders with seniors for he has been instrumental in several memorable victories at the junior level. Experts, however, warn against it.

Sources in Vidarbha Cricket Association said there was suggestions to draft him into the senior side for exposure, but vice-president Prashant Vaidya rejected the idea. “We know how talented he is and it’s our responsibility to groom him to become a match-winner for Vidarbha,” a VCA source, who doesn’t wished to be named, said.

Ex-Vidarbha bowling coach Subroto Bannerjee also doesn’t want Dattatraya to be rushed. “There’s no doubt about his talent. He is one of the brightest prospects in Vidarbha. If he is properly taken care of, he will win you many matches in future. I feel, he should play multi-day Under-19 format this season. I know he has done well there too but still one more season will help him grow as a bowler and a player,” Bannerjee told TOI.

“We all know what a good wrist spinner can do. However, they need proper backing and support. Most importantly they should be ready to handle the pressure at higher level. You need to be careful with timing of drafting youngsters. They should have loads of confidence to express themselves. Sometimes, if they are not ready and get hit, it affects their confidence and you might end up losing a talented player,” Bannerjee, who is now a head coach of Bihar, said.

Bannerjee said Dattatraya’s progress should be watched at every stage. “Now that he is playing Under-19 Challengers and has attended NCA camps, he should be monitored properly. One has to look at his progression and how he reacts in pressure situation. The way he is bowling, he should aim to play India Under-19 in the next World Cup,” he said.

Former India spinner Narendra Hirwani, in his interview to TOI, had termed Dattatraya a natural talent. Hirwani had, in fact, had advised Vidarbha authorities to look after Dattatraya well and also not to tamper with his unique bowling action. “He is a natural talent, like Dhoni. He is different from copybook players. He has his own style and also knows how to spin the ball,” Hirwani, now a head spin coach of National Cricket Academy, had told TOI.

Instead of looking at short term gains, one should think long term to groom Dattatraya where he could do wonders for not just Vidarbha, but also India. Who knows?

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