Home > Features >

Mumbai face tough Ranji season in absence of seniors but opportunity aplenty for youngsters

Mumbai face tough Ranji season in absence of seniors but opportunity aplenty for youngsters

If Zaheer Khan is called for the tour to South Africa, then Mumbai will again have to bank on either Abhishek Nayar (second from left) or Wasim Jaffer  (second from right) to lead the team © PTI

Mumbai just about managed to escape with six points against Haryana in the Ranji Trophy. It all depended on Sachin Tendulkar to guide them to victory in his last match for Mumbai. With Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma in the Indian squad, Mumbai might finally have to expose a young side this season and it provides ample opportunities for others to present their value. Abhijit Banare explains more

 
A team which wins consistently knows how to find its way out of a deep hole. In the 2012-13 Ranji Trophy season, Mumbai managed to enter the final of the tournament with just one outright win! All they did was find their momentum in the knockouts where it really mattered. It was one of the unconvincing run up to the finals. In this season though, the 40-time winners face another challenge of performing without their key players. While Mumbai are used to missing Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane who end up in the national team, the retirement of Ajit Agarkar and the uncertainty of Zaheer Khan throws up more questions. Below is a brief analysis.

 
The India contenders
 
In Rahane, Mumbai had their Rahul Dravid-like batsman at No 3. Even in the opening match against Haryana, Rahane stuck out there in the middle and provided the much-needed stability. With the series against West Indies and South Africa coming up, Rahane is likely to remain in the national contention and will miss out most of the early games. With Rohit being an integral part of India’s team across formats, Mumbai will be already prepared with a batsman in his place.

 
Mystery Zaheer Khan
 
The big risk though is appointing Zaheer Khan as the captain. Though he has been ignored for the West Indies series, the left-arm pacer with his fitness and form will surely be in contention for the tour to South Africa. Mumbai will again have to bank on either Abhishek Nayar or Wasim Jaffer to lead the team.
 
While not many are talking about it, but Agarkar’s absence will make a huge difference. He was an experienced player who was there with the team for an entire season like Jaffer. His craft with the ball and experience is too large to fill immediately.

 
Opportunity
 
Kautsubh Pawar has turned out to be an impressive opener. Even in the only outright win against Madhya Pradesh in the league phase of the previous season, Pawar had scored 111. Against Haryana in the second innings he batted like a typical khadoos batsman from Mumbai. This season will be an opportunity to stamp his place in the side and if the runs come more fluently the hope for a national contention will increase too. Akhil Herwadkar — the impressive batsman in the India Under-19 team should get an opportunity in the absence of senior players.
 
And it would be interesting to see if Arman Jaffer gets an opportunity to get into the squad. Even Siddhesh Lad, who is already in the squad is also an option. The batting in the middle-order appears brittle and Mumbai will have to take some risks to insert the youngsters in pressure situations. Wasim Jaffer and Abhishek Nayar will unquestionably have to take more responsibility. If Mumbai falter, then most likely it will be pointed towards a transition phase.
 
Considering the featherbed pitches in India, an outright win is worth its weight in gold. And there will be venues like Lahli, where six points are definitely up for grabs. Fortunately for Mumbai, they managed to scrape through. However, the batting needs to sustain if it has to play out those high-scoring draws. It will be interesting to see how well the new players perform. Going by the reputation of Mumbai, even the young players are well-prepared to take on the best in the country. If Mumbai manage to pull one more title, it will be a transition phase well achieved.
 
(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)

South Africa in Zimbabwe, 2014

Aug 21, 2014 (13:00 IST)   at Bulawayo

Bangladesh Tour of West Indies, 2014

Aug 22, 2014 (18:30 IST)   at St George's, Grenada

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 23, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Hambantota

India tour of England 2014

Aug 25, 2014 (15:00 IST)   at Bristol

Bangladesh Tour of West Indies, 2014

Aug 25, 2014 (00:00 IST)   at Basseterre, St Kitts

More

Bangladesh Tour of West Indies, 2014

Aug 20, 2014  at St George's, Grenada

West Indies won by 3 wkts

South Africa in Zimbabwe, 2014

Aug 19, 2014  at Bulawayo

South Africa won by 61 runs

South Africa in Zimbabwe, 2014

Aug 17, 2014  at Bulawayo

South Africa won by 93 runs

India tour of England 2014

Aug 15, 2014  at London

England won by an innings and 244 runs

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 14, 2014  at Colombo

Sri Lanka won by 105 runs

Photos

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge performed by cricketers

Videos

Hughes explains technique behind cut shot

India still in a position to succeed against England in ODIs

13 things you may not know about Ravi Shastri

Duncan Fletcher speaks out; explains why Team India failed in the Test series against England!

Science of slip fielding: What might be wrong with Team India’s slip cordon

England England vs India England vs India 2014 India India tour of England 2014 India vs England India vs England 2014 Pakistan Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka 2014 Pakistan vs Sri Lanka Pakistan vs Sri Lanka 2014 Sri Lanka Sri Lanka vs Pakistan Sri Lanka vs Pakistan 2014 Zimbabwe

IPL 2013 spot-fixing and betting controversy: Mudgal committee may seek extension to August 31 deadline

Melbourne Cricket Ground to get new turf ahead of 2015 World Cup

Zimbabwe surrender meekly against mighty South Africa; set target of 166

Michael Vaughan accepts Stuart Broad’s ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’; becomes latest cricketer to join the bandwagon

Live Scorecard: India Women vs England Women 1st ODI at Scarborough

ICC World Cup 2011 to 2015: Test playing nations have seen numerous changes to the coaching setup

Lalit Modi nominates N Srinivasan for ALS Ice Bucket Challenge!

Yasir Hameed: I have certainly not fulfilled the potential I had

India still in a position to succeed against England in ODIs

Alex Hales’ inclusion a positive move by England for ODI series against India

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

659 Posts | 6 Fans

India tour of England 2014: Sunil Gavaskar says Indian batsmen did not learn anything

Manjhi questions Modi`s Jharkhand visit during bypoll in Bihar

Court acquits man in 1984 Gurdwara Pulbangash riot case

Lalit Modi nominates N Srinivasan for ALS Ice Bucket Challenge!

When is the best time to practice yoga?

Australia tour of Zimbabwe 2014: Michael Clarke expects tough challenge

Vishal Bhardwaj: It’s time for I&B ministry to help the film fraternity!

US gurdwaras to help project positive Sikh image

India to face Jordan and UAE in Asian Games

Forget Kim Kardashian: Meet the real queen of selfies

Forget the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, the Push-up Challenge is here!

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here