Talks of Mumbai’s decline baseless: Amol Muzumdar
Amol Muzumdar's 15-year-long association with Mumbai dates back to 1993. (Getty Image)

Former Mumbai batsman Amol Muzumdar has dismissed talks regarding Mumbai’s downfall as a domestic giant in the wake of the team’s third Vijay Hazare Trophy title. Muzumdar, a domestic stalwart for Mumbai, feels that despite the decrease in the amount of silverware, Mumbai are still pretty much a top team in the Indian domestic circuit. They beat Delhi in the final by four wickets to remain unbeaten in the tournament.

It was in fact under Muzumdar that Mumbai last won the Vijay Hazare Trophy in 2007. “There have been talks about Mumbai going down and stuff, but I’ll tell you honestly, those are mere talks,” Muzumdar told ESPNcricinfo. “If you see the team still, it’s a powerful side. “How can you say that Mumbai cricket has gone down when in the last three years, Mumbai has won one title, been runners-up once in the Ranji Trophy, and now they’ve won the final here. On what ground are you saying that?”

The win not only helped Mumbai end their over 10-year-long Vijay Hazare trophy drought but promises to go a long way in re-establishing their dominance. With 41 titles, Mumbai have won the Ranji Trophy the most, including a stunning 16-season winning streak between 1958 and 1973. They last won the title in 2016, which was their fifth title since the 2006-07 season. Muzumdar feels the reason why Mumbai don’t win as much as they used to is because of the improvement shown by remaining teams.

“I can’t afford to stay in the 1990s where we dominated,” Muzumdar said. “The world has changed, so your thinking has to change. You can’t have 16-17 years of victories now. It’s not possible, because other teams have gotten better. It’s not that Mumbai has gone down, the other teams have gotten better.

“Even today, you have Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Shardul Thakur, Shreyas Iyer, Prithvi Shaw – five of them are there playing in the Indian team. How is that Mumbai going ‘down’? I can’t understand. People say, ‘Oh there were six-seven (players in the team) earlier’ – well there’s still five today. So on what basis are you saying that it’s going down? I do not agree with that theory, no matter who says it.”

During his 15-year-long association with Mumbai, Muzumdar won eight Ranji titles. He began his First-Class career with an unbeaten 260 against Haryana during the 1993-94 season and claimed the record for the most runs in Ranji Trophy in 2009, before Wasim Jaffer broke it three years later. He is considered by many the most deserving player to not break into the Indian team.

“We are all shareholders of Mumbai cricket,” he said. “It’s not just the Mumbai players, but if you widen your horizon, then everyone who has been a part of Mumbai cricket [is a shareholder]. Even if he is watching. You feel good when Mumbai is doing well.

“Maybe we haven’t concentrated as much on the white-ball cricket that we play. Generally, more focus is on the Ranji Trophy which is a big factor in Mumbai cricket, and even in the last ten years, we’ve won some four to five titles. So the entire energy is on the Ranji Trophy, and I’ve got a feeling that once the Ranji Trophy is done – generally the Vijay Hazare is played after it – the energy levels I think dip. Maybe that is one of the reasons, I don’t know.”