The 30-year-old Maharashtra Ranji Trophy captain scored 309 runs in five innings (off 224 balls, 41x4s, 11x6s) for Team Kolhapur in the league phase of the ongoing Maharashtra Premier League at Gahunje stadium.
Since his junior days, Bawne has been known for his defence and game of patience. But he has exceeded all expectations with his calculated assault against the bowlers who bowl with a red-hot body language but are partly greenhorns in the revived state-level T20 extravaganza.
Bawne, who has opened the batting with captain Kedar Jadhav in most of the games, has used the field restrictions in power play overs to clear the infield. Yes, he has hit some lap shots, scoops and slog sweeps too to steal boundaries when the field was spread out. But unlike the majority of the batsmen of the modern era (like Rahul Tripathi), he still stands for age-old values like taking responsibility and batting deep into the innings.
That also means not playing ‘gamble shots’ frequently.
Former Maharashtra coach and national selector Surendra Bhave said, “There is a lot of talk these days about blooding youngsters and emphasis on fitness.
“Although young blood and athleticism bring value to the T20 format, there is a place for experience and a wise heads too.”
Admittedly, Bawne has NOT got these runs in the inter-state games (like Mushtaq Ali Trophy) or partial international attacks (like in IPL). For the MPL quality is two rungs lower and Bawne has practised with the majority of notable bowlers that he is facing now. “But remember,” said Bhave, “the confidence that you get from scoring runs at any level is invaluable. And we have seen it, more often than not, these good runs translate into good performances at the higher level too.”
Despite playing more than 110 first-class games (21 tons in 174 innings), Bawne can’t boast of career-defining and/or jaw-dropping knocks that have lifted Maharashtra’s fortunes. But his improved strike-rate in MPL can be good news for Maharashtra in the upcoming domestic season.
Kolhapur, who were allowed to pick both Naushad Shaikh and Bawne (besides having icon player Kedar Jadhav) in the auction, had lost their first match against Ruturaj Gaikwad’s Team Pune but then won four in a row to finish the league phase on the second spot behind Team Ratnagiri on net run rate.