Big opportunity arrives... And Motwani hopes to make most of it

THE Motwani household in Aundh erupted in joy on Monday, when the national selection panel named Rohit Motwani in the India B team for the NKP Salve Challenger Trophy. "I was in a daze after the selectors informed me of my selection. It is a really big opportunity for me and I am hoping to make the most of it," says Rohit.

Maharashtra wicketkeeper Rohit Motwani has risen rapidly through the ranks since making his first class debut at the age of 17 against Tamil Nadu in 2008. A season later, he was named captain of the Maharashtra Ranji team and was one of the key performers in their promotion to the elite division of the Ranji Trophy this year, with 449 runs in 11 innings at 44.90 including four half centuries, as well as 20 catches and a stumping.

Motwani's captaincy graph has had a few similarities with that of his idol Mahendra Singh Dhoni. While Dhoni began his tenure with the World T20 victory in 2007, Motwani began by winning the 2010 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, India's premier domestic Twenty20 tournament.

This was Maharashtra's first piece of domestic silverware in 75 years. Motwani says that the win was a shot in the arm for a team of youngsters who were battling a barrage of criticism. "The Mushtaq Ali win instilled in us the belief that we could challenge for higher glories," he says.

Rohit Motwani has been the Maharashtra captain for three domestic seasons now and says each year as the captain has taught him something new.

When he first took the reins, he admits that it was a bit intimidating to lead older players. "I had doubts over my abilities as captain. I had led age-group teams for Maharashtra but leading the senior squad was something completely different," he says. However, barring the initial doubts, Motwani's tenure as captain has largely been positive as proved by the team's promotion.

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