Limbani’s feat came as a pleasant reminder of Baroda pacer Irfan Pathan who claimed a hat-trick against Pakistan in the very first over of the 2006 Karachi Test. Obviously, Limbani felt good after a stupendous performance. “Our team played a good game and I am happy that I could contribute to the victory. It has improved my confidence,” Limbani told TOI from South Africa.
When asked if he had a specific plan against the Kiwis, Limbani said, “I had bowled well in the earlier matches but couldn’t get much wickets. This pitch was flat so I didn’t try anything new and instead decided to bowl in good areas. I was confident that wickets would follow.”
Having travelled 45 km daily to attend an English medium school from Dayapar village in his native Kutch, this farmer’s son has come a long way. “Our financial condition wasn’t good but I was always interested in playing cricket and my family supported me. I shifted to Vadodara in 2017 as the city offers fantastic cricketing facilities. It worked well for me,” the right-arm pacer said.
His cricketing career started at Motibaug Cricket Club run by the royal Gaekwad family and he soon cemented his place in various teams of Baroda. Limbani went on to play in Cooch Behar Trophy, Col CK Nayudu Tournament, U-19 Challenger Trophy and U-23 men’s one-day tournament. In the U-19 Asia Cup last year, he picked 12 wickets in four matches.
Limbani, whose role models are Dale Steyn and jasprit bumrahtouched 140 kmph during a National Cricket Academy high-performance camp last year.
“He cycled 14 km to and fro daily from his house to Motibaug Cricket Club as he couldn’t afford to spend on daily transport. That was a blessing in disguise as the cycling improved his stamina and helped him bowl faster,” said a senior Baroda Cricket Association (BCA) trainer.