Sachin Tendulkar had words of encouragement for the curator, and praised the pitch on which he guided Mumbai to a four-wicket win over Haryana in their Ranji Trophy opener on Wednesday.

Commending the Haryana Cricket Association for playing the perfect host, and the curator Jasmer, Tendulkar — who hit an unbeaten 79 as Mumbai chased 240, said: “It was a challenging pitch, and had a lot for the bowlers. It was not easy to score runs. The outfield was slow, and 240 looked like 280 on this pitch. It was just the kind of outing I was looking forward to,” he said.

He said he expected the upcoming series against the West Indies to be “a good series. The West Indies is a good side, and I’ll be looking forward to (the series). I hope it produces good cricket,” Tendulkar said.

Haryana captain Ajay Jadeja lavished praise on Tendulkar, and his match-winning innings.

“The innings he played made all the difference. You call him god, and I call him master. If you go by what you call him, then who can fight god and win? There would be no team in the world that can win when Tendulkar is in the opposition, and you can’t get him out,” Jadeja said.

“We tried, but we couldn’t.”

On the victory, Mumbai skipper Zaheer Khan said: “It was an important match for us because we wanted to start the season on a winning note. This game definitely shows that good pitches produce interesting games.”

Jadeja, who earned a pat from many for his captaincy, noted: “We are prepared for the season. We have to get better and make progress. There will be losses along the way. But, hopefully, we’ll have a chance to play Mumbai again this season, in the final or one of the knockouts.

“You can’t win the Ranji Trophy without (going through) Mumbai.”

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