Lad recently finished a 30-over tournament in Chennai for his employers Indian Oil Corporation where his team won the YSCA title.
After getting his first big break at the start of the season, Siddhesh Lad is happy he has come in Indian selector’s plans. The 26-year-old consistent performer for Mumbai was picked by BCCI selection committee for Board President’s XI game in the one off three-day practice game against South Africa A scheduled in Belgaum from July 30.
Lad had top scored for Mumbai across all three formats during the 2017-18 season but still he had to sit on the Mumbai Indians bench for the fourth consecutive season. However, the Indian Premier League disappointment is over as Lad has been rewarded for his last season exploits for Mumbai by handing him an opportunity to represent young and promising BP XI side led by his Mumbai Indians teammate Ishan Kishan.
“It is a good break for me at the start of the season and if I do well here it will give me good confidence for the rest of season. I have the experience of playing for India B in Deodhar Trophy and India Blue in Duleep Trophy. I also scored runs for Mumbai against New Zealand side at Feroz Shah Kotla stadium in New Delhi when they toured last time in 2016,” he said.
Lad recently finished a 30-over tournament in Chennai for his employers Indian Oil Corporation where his team won the YSCA title. This will be his first game for an Indian side against an international team and his first long format competitive game after the Ranji Trophy quarter-final against Karnataka and he is looking forward to it.
“I don’t play a three-day game normally and am used to four day and five days games. But I have played three-day games in Times Shield in the past and usually it is about one innings only. I will approach it as any other Ranji Trophy game and try to bat as long as possible,” he said.
Despite not getting a game in IPL for four seasons, Lad isn’t considering to skip next IPL to play in England during the off-season. He knows if he gets his opportunity in IPL and does well it will fast track him to Indian A and eventually the senior team than playing in England.
“It has always been my dream to play in England during the off-season. But IPL takes the bulk of their season so it isn’t wise to go there midway. IPL gives you instant recognition and you come into the limelight. If you look promising you come in India’s reckoning as you are competing at a higher level. Chances of playing for India A or India get bright with a good season of IPL, while through first class cricket you come in focus only after three-four seasons of consistent cricket,” he said.
The Borivali resident has rose to prominence in the last couple of seasons and he wants to carry that consistency so that he remains in selectors radars for berth India ‘A’ and eventually, the senior team.
“I improved my skills and added some innovative shots during the IPL but that I will keep for the shorter format. In Ranji Trophy, I will keep things simple. Last season was good for me. A season earlier, I did well but lost half of the season due to injuries. I want to be consistent this season also. Being consistent in back-to-back two seasons will be a good sign for me and selectors will also keep an eye on me,” he said.
Now, one of the senior members in the team, Lad admits more responsibility has brought on more pressure, but he can function well even under pressure. “After doing well there is more responsibility on me and it adds pressure. But I have always done well in pressure situations,” he added.
Commenting on his turnaround after being in and out of the side since his Mumbai debut in 2013, Lad said that while he always did well for Mumbai, initially he got less opportunities for Mumbai as he was batting lower down the order.
“Whenever I played for Mumbai I did well but earlier I batted at No. 6 or 7 for Mumbai and got less opportunities to get set. I had to bat with tail often. Last year, I got more time in the middle by batting up the order in Ranji Trophy. In One dayers also I batted at No 3. I had enough time and less pressure to adjust to situations and play with freedom,” he said.