Mumbai: Nov 2, 2011
With the new Ranji Trophy season commencing from Thursday, Mumbai's Amol Muzumdar who is the highest run getter in the championship's long history, has recalled how his team regained the national cricket title under his captaincy in 2006-07 after a topsy-turvy campaign.
In his article, originally written for the BCCI's Platinum Jubilee volume in 2009, was put up on Wednesday by the Indian Cricket Board (BCCI) on its website.
After failing to win a single point in the first three league matches, Mumbai surged their way to the national championship in 2006-07 season.
"The champagne poured again in the dressing room in 2006-07 but not before a roller-coaster ride. I have never experienced such a topsy-turvy season in my entire career," Muzumdar had written in his article.
"We had failed to put up even one point on the table after our first three games and where confronting the possibility of relegation to the Plate group.
"It was then that the tide turned. What came to the fore was the Mumbai spirit, a never-say-die attitude and resilience at its very best. We registered five outright victories and clinched the title.
"Our march to the final featured a thrilling semi-final against Vadodara. We were reduced to 0-5! Only after getting my hands on the trophy did I have a sigh of relief," added Muzumdar, who was a member of eight trophy-winning Mumbai squads in the 1990s and in the 2000s.
Muzumdar has also recollected the epic final between Mumbai and Haryana in 1990-91 at the Wankhede Stadium, in which Dilip Vengsarkar-led hosts lost to Kapil Dev's Haryana by a two-run margin, the proceedings having been watched by him as a ball boy.
"The epic Ranji Trophy final of 1990-91, which Mumbai lost to Kapil Dev's Haryana by two runs, and the tears that flowed subsequently, have stayed rooted in my memory. I watched the match from the boundary in my capacity as a ball boy," remembers the 36-year-old cricketer.
"Every Mumbaikar was devastated by the loss but we bounced back in the early 1990s with the advent of youngsters who were focused, determined, and most importantly hungry to excel.
"We had not won a single Ranji trophy title since 1984-85. The drought ended in 1993-94 under the captaincy of Ravi Shastri. Ravi was not just a captain but a leader as well. I feel blessed to have made my Ranji debut under him.
"He not only instilled confidence in all of us but also taught us to be ruthless and aggressive on the field. We faced Bengal in the final at the Wankhede. They had some big names in their team but we managed to beat them. Ravi and our manager Karsan Ghavri did a commendable job," he added.
In the article, he also mentioned the victories by Mumbai under Sachin Tendulkar, Sanjay Manjrekar and Sameer Dighe in the 1990s before regaining the crown in the first decade of the new millennium after a gap of 4-5 years.
Muzumdar has mentioned how eyebrows are raised if Mumbai team goes through an entire domestic season without any silverware added to its overflowing cupboard.
"If a season goes by without Mumbai winning any silverware, there are raised eyebrows. That is simply because of the high expectations. When you first walk into the Mumbai dressing room, you are always made aware of the glorious past.
I feel every youngster must learn about it. With history comes passion and in the Mumbai side, cricket is meant to be played with passion," wrote Mazumdar.(PTI)