Mumbai: Mumbai cricket is at its nadir. The Ranji Trophy team made a shock exit from the championship after losing to Maharashtra in the quarter-final on
Mumbai players during their Ranji Trophy quarter-final
Saturday. The other age-group teams did not even qualify for the knockout rounds of their respective tournaments organised by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
This season has seen a dramatic fall for Mumbai, who practically won all tournaments last time around. Is it an aberration or is something ailing Mumbai
cricket? Should the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) take cue from Australia and England, and set up a committee that would review city’s cricket and give recommendations with an aim to put Mumbai’s cricket back on track?
Australia appointed Don Argus (called the Argus Review) to look into their dramatic fall from the top spot. The England and Wales Cricket Board had the Schofield report to study various aspects of their domestic structure.
Former India and Mumbai skipper Ajit Wadekar felt MCA should set up a similar review committee to look into Mumbai’s cricketing issues. “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,” Wadekar told MiD DAY yesterday.
Former batsman Lalchand Rajput, who is also the coach of India ‘A’, seconded Wadekar’s view. “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 Rajput, who is a part of the MCA’s Managing Committee.
However, former Mumbai skipper Milind Rege felt there was no point introducing another 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,” he said.
Rege said players should
be held responsible for Mumbai’s debacle. “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,” he said.
Rege was critical of the role of coaches at the junior level. “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?” he asked.
Sudhir Naik, who quit as chairman of selectors mid-way into the Ranji season, trained his guns at the administrators. “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,” said Naik.