Jan 14, 2014
Mumbai loss to Maharashtra in the Ranji Trophy 2013-14 quarter-finals was the city’s last chance for silver-ware for the side this season, which has also seen its other age-group teams being knocked out in their respective tournaments as well.
The loss to Maharashtra has prompted a strong reaction from former Mumbai cricketers, who feel that the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) should set up a committee which will dwell into the season and chart out a road to recovery.
The previous season was a complete contrast to the existing one, as Mumbai had won almost all age-group tournaments and it is a common sentiment amongst veteran players that introspection must surely be done to bring Mumbai’s cricketing fortunes on its tracks.
Former Mumbai cricketer, Ajit Wadekar feels that the MCA should take a cue from Australia, who appointed Don Argus after they were losing matches and series by the dozen. Apart from Australia, England also had set up a ‘Schofield report’ which dwelled into the various intricacies of their domestic cricket structure.
“It is quite important. It is easy to give excuses that the senior players were not there and so we lost this time. But you don’t lose overnight. It is a slow decline. It is important to take corrective measures now. Otherwise, it will be too late to rectify,” said Wadekar, who was speaking to Mid-Day.
“As a player, it pains me to see that we lost a game which we should have won. A review committee should be formed to enable us to analyse what is going wrong and what should be our next course of action. It is important to identify the lapses. A proper, thoughtful decision should be taken,” said former Mumbai batsman, Lalchand Rajput, who is also part of the MCA’s Managing Committee.
“There is already a Technical Committee of the MCA in place. They can look into the debacle. In my experience, such committees lead nowhere. It is only a report which will be tabled, and done and dusted with. It is time to start afresh. We should focus on the rebuilding process,” said former Mumbai cricketer Milind Rege, who disagreed with the idea.
“It is crystal clear for me… the boys fared miserably. When you have top-class facilities available, what is the reason for not performing? Dilip Sardesai would have said ‘runs kon karnar?’ (who will score the runs ultimately?) The coaches won’t come out to bat; the selectors would not bowl for you. It is the players who let Mumbai down,” added Rege.
Apart from being critical of the players, Rege also criticised the junior-level coaches by saying, ”I want to know why these coaches, who glorify themselves when a player performs, fail to produce enough quality players. You hold so many camps throughout the year, but why are there no quality players? When a selector wants a leg-spinner or an off-spinner or a pacer, why are there only limited choices?”
Sudhir Naik, who resigned from his role as chairman of selectors mid-way through the Ranji season said, “There is favouritism in selection, especially at the junior level because the awareness is very low. The process of appointing coaches and selectors is quite poor.”
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