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Ranji Trophy Final | In-form Deshpande hopes he can win an India cap

The goal: Deshpande. said the full focus is on regaining the Ranji Trophy.

Ever since making his Ranji Trophy debut in 2016-17, thanks to his raw pace, Tushar Deshpande has been utilised as a strike bowler by the Mumbai team management across formats. Riding on impressive performances across formats over the last twelve months, the pacer is hoping that the Ranji final and the Indian Premier League that will follow will help him realise his dream of donning the India jersey.

“These three months, especially starting with the Ranji quarterfinal, are extremely important for me. For the last 18-24 months – irrespective of the format – the manner in which I have been performing, consistently clocking 140-plus – I want to play these next three phases at full intensity,” Deshpande told The Hindu ahead of the Ranji final between Mumbai and Vidarbha, starting at the Wankhede Stadium from Sunday.

“I think I am ready for an India call-up. If you look at the overall season, be it one-dayers (Vijay Hazare Trophy) or Ranji, I have been delivering with crucial wickets – and useful runs too,” Deshpande said, referring to his maiden hundred and a 26 in the quarterfinal and semifinal, respectively.

“I am giving my 100 per cent for Mumbai and the IPL performance everyone has witnessed. So if I can help Mumbai regain the Ranji Trophy over the coming week and follow it up with another strong showing in the IPL, I think I would have inched closer to realising the dream.”

Riding on an excellent outing in the 2023 IPL – he finished as the Chennai Super Kings’ highest wicket-taker en route a fifth title – Deshpande was noticed for his wicket-taking ability. The Kalyan Express is not looking too far ahead for now.

In fact, he along with the rest of his teammates, has his target set on lifting his first Ranji Trophy.

Having been a part of two losing finals, Deshpande is desperate to go all the way and end Mumbai’s eight-year title drought.

“What follows thereafter in the yellow jersey doesn’t matter but for now, the focus is fully on regaining the Ranji Trophy. Ever since our last final (2016-17), we have hardly qualified. The only time we did, in 2021-22, we lost the final again. All of us are aiming for the solitary goal of lifting the trophy ever since we have qualified,” Deshpande said.

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