Home > Features >

Mumbai cricket should groom young talent, senior players have to take more responsibility

Mumbai © PTI
Defending champions Mumbai bowed out of the Ranji Trophy 2013-14 after the loss to Maharashtra in the quarter-final © PTI

Mumbai tumbled to an embarrassing exit from the Ranji Trophy 2013-14 on their home turf. Unlike the other defeats in the past, this exit strongly indicates the need for rebuilding the team. Sulakshan Kulkarni’s words after the defeat suggest that it is the need of the hour. Abhijit Banare explains…

Victories and defeats go hand in hand in a sport. Good teams know how to bounce back from defeats and present a determined look to script fightbacks. Mumbai definitely fall in that category.  But, the fire to get the better of the opposition to win was missing during the recent Ranji Trophy 2013-14 quarter-final against Maharashtra.  The spirited approach from the two batsmen, Vijay Zol and Kedar Jadhav, helped Maharashtra trump the hosts.

There have been instances in the past when Mumbai have fought back and kept their winning legacy intact whenever they have been in a spot. Mumbai have boasted of a formidable record of doing so; the records clearly indicate what they are made of. Yet the words of Sulakshan Kulkarni after the match gave a dreadful indication that they are nowhere close to living up to that legacy. When it came to the strategy of bowling on the last day, he was quick to put the onus on the captain Zaheer Khan, who took the call on the field. The reply to one of the key question too was interesting to note. When asked whether he was worried about the future of Mumbai cricket, the coach dished out a guarded response that the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) should look into it. He further clarified that it’s not just the Mumbai Ranji team but even the age group sides need a look in.

Through the season, Mumbai had lost the cream of their squad due to various reasons.  The bench strength just didn’t instill confidence in taking the team through. It came down to even depending on a young Siddhesh Lad, who too was out with an injury. The batting, which was the most solid aspect of the defending champions, failed to get going. As Wasim Jaffer mentioned, a lot is to be desired when it comes to youngsters in the longest form of the game. With as many as 23 players and three captains in a season, Mumbai selectors have shown a lack of confidence e selectors in the team.

During the era of Ajit Agarkar and other senior players, Mumbai was considered as a team with great bench strength, which wasn’t really the ground reality. While the growth has stagnated, let’s not forget that the other teams have grown immensely as well. Maharashtra is a clear example. Despite playing in the least competitive of the three groups, this team has played and stuck together as a unit which was missing in Mumbai.

What to look forward to?

The revival process will begin only when the MCA and the concerned authorities feel convinced that there is indeed a dearth of talent required for the team to progress. The association should invest their faith in new talent along with the grooming the existing players in taking more responsibility. There is definitely a need to have a captain to lead them for the future. Going back to Jaffer doesn’t do the future any good. Someone like Abhishek Nayar has the right blend of experience and energy to take the team ahead, but was criticised for his captaincy during the game against Jharkhand. And the most important quality would be having the patience and faith for the results to materialise. Perhaps the team would lose a few matches and fail to win the premier tournament, but at least it would be a step ahead in the quest for rebuilding the team. The defeats will become big news for a team known for its rich legacy; yet this seems to be the only available solution to fix the problem in the long run. One of the toughest job these days in Mumbai cricket would be that of the Cricket Improvement Committee (CIC), to once again play a leading role in making the changes that matter.

 

(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on Twitter and blog

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 6, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Galle

India tour of England 2014

Aug 7, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Manchester

South Africa in Zimbabwe, 2014

Aug 9, 2014 (13:30 IST)   at Harare

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 14, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo

India tour of England 2014

Aug 15, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at London

More

India tour of England 2014

Jul 27, 2014  at Southampton

England won by 266 runs

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 24, 2014  at Bulawayo

Afghanistan won by 100 runs

South Africa tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Jul 24, 2014  at Colombo

Match drawn

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 22, 2014  at Bulawayo

Afghanistan won by 2 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 20, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 8 wkts

Photos

India vs England 2014, 3rd Test

Videos

Highlights of Phil Hughes' double ton

5 things you need to know about Graham Thorpe

India vs England 2014, 4th Test at Old Trafford: Ajinkya Rahane needs to play decisive role

10 little-known facts about Sir Frank Worrell

Statistical analysis of Jacques Kallis’s ODI career

England England vs India England vs India 2014 Ian Bell India India tour of England 2014 India vs England India vs England 2014 James Anderson Moeen Ali South Africa Sri Lanka

James Anderson, Ravindra Jadeja not found guilty by Judical Commissioner

James Anderson pleads guilty of pushing Ravindra Jadeja; says no malice intended

Ravindra Jadeja playing ahead of Ravichandran Ashwin in India’s tour of England a disaster, says Erapalli Prassana

Nasser Hussain praises Alastair Cook after victory in 3rd Test against India at Southampton

Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s swollen ankle worries MS Dhoni ahead of 4th Test at Old Trafford

An open letter to Pankaj Singh

India vs England 2014, 4th Test at Old Trafford: Should Umesh Yadav be sent as cover for Ishant Sharma?

5 things you need to know about Graham Thorpe

India vs England 2014, 4th Test at Old Trafford: Ajinkya Rahane needs to play decisive role

Faisal Iqbal: Political interference harmed my international career

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

658 Posts | 6 Fans

Sachin Tendulkar's nine dismissals against James Anderson

Justin Bieber to change house again!

Delhi shoppers more e-commerce savvy: Survey

Google most attractive employer among Asia-Pacific graduates

Prevent Diabetes Tip – get regular health check-ups

James Anderson pleads guilty of pushing Ravindra Jadeja; says no malice intended

Rafael to miss rest of Man Utd’s tour of the USA with groin injury

Matrix actor Hugo Weaving to team up with Ship of Theseus director Anand Gandhi

Ravindra Jadeja playing ahead of Ravichandran Ashwin in India’s tour of England a disaster, says Erapalli Prassana

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here