Want to be an all-rounder, says Maharashtra’s Ashay Palkar | Cricket News – Times of India

PUNE: Ashay Palkar believes his maiden first-class hundred in the Ranji Trophy opener against Delhi has helped him prove his batting credentials and stake his claim as an all-rounder in the Maharashtra squad.
“I have been recognised as a bowler, but I have also been working on my batting. I was waiting for a chance, one innings, to prove my batting,” Palkar, who scored a perfect 100 in the first innings in Gahunje last week, said.
“I want to be an all-rounder. That the team went on to win the match was icing on the cake.”
Palkar’s knock was an example in application. He consumed 250 deliveries while featuring in a record double century partnership with Azim Kazi for the eighth wicket that lifted the team from 94/7 to 324.
He also picked two wickets in each innings to be adjudged player of the match.
“We (himself and Kazi) didn’t have any plan. Our aim was to get closer to their score (Delhi’s 191) and play each ball on merit. We set short term goals,” the 33-year-old said.
The best compliment for his batting came from none other than his partner.
“Watching Palkar bat gave me inspiration. His innings was perfect, he batted like a recognised batsman,” said Kazi, who made 124 for his third first-class ton.
Palkar, who played as a junior for Mumbai before shifting to Pune, had taken a break from the game to complete an MBA programme. That helped him secure a placement with tech firm Infosys.
As interesting as it might sound, being employed full-time with a multi-national software poses its own challenge, but Palkar is happy for the opportunity it has provided him.
“My company is very understanding and supportive of my cricket. They are very happy to have a Ranji Trophy cricketer among them, as I am the only such professional sportsman as their employee,” he said.
“But unlike other players (employed in public sector units), I am not employed under the sports quota. All the policies that apply to other employees apply to me as well.
“So, when I am not playing for Maharashtra, I have to be on duty for eight hours. I make time before and after office hours for practice.
“If I am going to compete with other athletes, I have to put in the effort.”
Not surprisingly, he doesn’t take pressure on himself with regard to cementing his position in the team.
“I have to keep proving myself. It is not about cementing my place in the team,” he said.
“If I keep contributing to the team’s success, my place will automatically be cemented. Whatever my position in the team, my endeavour will be the same.”

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