I want to bat as long as possible: Samant

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/c/cricketgen7.jpg' class='caption'> Elated after hitting his maiden first class century, Mumbai opener Vinayak Samant said his strategy was to play as long as possible, even if runs dried up.

Updated: January 15, 2009 16:18 IST
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Elated after hitting his maiden first class century in the Ranji Trophy final against Uttar Pradesh, Mumbai opener Vinayak Samant said his simple strategy on Thursday was to play as long as possible, even if runs dried up.

"My role was that I should hang on as long as possible, even if I am not making runs. By God's grace, I was successful," a beaming Samant told reporters after the end of fourth day's play.

Promoted to open the innings, the task was not easy but Samant said he never shied away from challenges.

"There was no fear in my mind about opening. I love to take challenges. I accepted it and I am successful," he said. "It was a challenge for me and I accepted that. If I bat at eighth or ninth, it would be a tail-ender's position and the tail-enders don't get the opportunity to make big scores," he said.

Samant felt working on his technique has finally paid him dividends.

"I worked on my technique which really helped. I was working on leaving good balls. I tried to do it today and it worked well for me. I was also working on basic things and wanted to bat straight," he said.

Happy to have played his part in ensuring that Mumbai is on the verge of lifting their 38th Ranji title, Samant said it was special to score the century in the final and that too in front of team-mate Sachin Tendulkar.

"It's a special experience for me. I am happy that I scored a century in the finals. Very few batsmen score centuries in the finals. Besides, Sachin is also there. So I am lucky that I got a chance to play," he said.

Samant had earlier represented Assam in the Ranji Trophy but the stumper said nothing could really match playing for the home side.

"I played for Assam as the Mumbai team was packed then. I got an opportunity to play for Assam then. I did well there but did not get a push. It is very important for a player to play for the home team. I am glad that I got an opportunity to play for Mumbai," he said.

To a query, he said his fitness level was high which enabled him to score a century even after keeping for long hours.

"I try to keep myself fit. I could score a century after keeping because my fitness level is high," he said.

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