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)

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 20, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Kolkata

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Dubai

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (19:00 IST)   at Cuttack

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014 (09:30 IST)   at Dhaka

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 27, 2014 (03:00 IST)   at Hamilton

More

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 24, 2014  at Mount Maunganui

South Africa won by 72 runs

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 21, 2014  at Mount Maunganui

South Africa won by 6 wkts

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 17, 2014  at Dharamsala

India won by 59 runs

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 14, 2014  at Visakhapatnam

Match cancelled

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 12, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Australia won by 1 run

Photos

Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test at Dubai

Videos

Amla feels Proteas more acclimatised to conditions

Live Cricket Score Duleep Trophy Central Zone vs North Zone, semi-final at Mohali Day 4: Mahesh Rawat’s ton puts match beyond North’s reach

Live Cricket Score Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test, Day 4: Pakistan declare with lead of 437

Live Cricket Score Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe, 1st Test Day 1 at Mirpur: Bangladesh grab upper hand at Stumps

World Cup 1992, England vs Pakistan: Three hours of rain changes course of tournament

David Warner’s transformation into a dependable and effervescent batsman

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 India New Zealand New Zealand vs South Africa New Zealand vs South Africa 2014 Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 South Africa South Africa tour of New Zealand 2014 South Africa vs New Zealand South Africa vs New Zealand 2014

Younis Khan scores 26th ton to establish Pakistan record

Younis Khan becomes seventh Pakistani cricketer to score two hundreds in a Test

Bangladesh gain upper-hand over Zimbabwe at stumps on Day 1 of 1st Test

Ahmed Shehzad’s ton gives Pakistan 382-run lead over Australia at tea on Day 4

Jonathan Carter called up in West Indies-A team for Sri Lanka series

Younis Khan scores 26th ton to establish Pakistan record

Younis Khan becomes seventh Pakistani cricketer to score two hundreds in a Test

Virat Kohli and others with 20 ODI hundreds

David Warner and others with records related to hundreds in consecutive Test innings

Strangers, Brothers and Cricket— the English novelist CP Snow’s lasting passion for the game

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

642 Posts | 9 Fans

Virat Kohli's Family Meets Anushka Sharma

Top Sex Positions: Frog Princess

Pakistan’s apex court admits plea against 2013 polls

OMG! What was Anushka Sharma doing with Virat Kohli at a hospital?

Writing about Clean India a service to nation: Narendra Modi

How to make tamarind or imli packs for hair and skin

NGOs pursue education for all

Developers of ‘Room’ app claim Facebook copied their idea, may pursue legal action

Sundar Pichai gets elevated, will reportedly oversee most Google products

International programme in Animal Husbandry

Nwe Zealand vs South Africa 2014: Dale Steyn senses fear among South Africa batsmen despite good show

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here