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MCA sacks Mumbai coach Sulakshan Kulkarni after Ranji ouster

Lalchand Rajput will replace Kulkarni as the interim coach in the West Zone one-dayers for the Ramakant Desai Trophy, and the T20 Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament

Mumbai: On this very day last year, Sulakshan Kulkarni was basking in the glory of Mumbai’s 40th Ranji Trophy triumph at the Wankhede Stadium. Today, he finds himself out in the cold.

Sulakshan Kulkarni
Sulakshan Kulkarni

On Monday evening, the Mumbai Cricket Association’s (MCA) Managing Committee accepted the Technical Committee’s recommendation to replace Kulkarni with Lalchand Rajput as the interim coach in the West Zone one-dayers for the Ramakant Desai Trophy, and the T20 Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament.

The appointment of Rajput, who is the India ‘A’ coach and batting consultant with the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) Academy, is subject to approval by the Indian board.

As far as the recommendation to replace the selection panel is concerned, the Managing Committee decided to retain Deepak Jadhav & Co till the season ends in March.

“The Managing Committee has decided to replace coach Sulakshan Kulkarni and appoint Lalchand Rajput for the interim period, subject to the Indian board’s approval,” MCA’s Joint Honorary Secretary Dr PV Shetty said yesterday.

January 28, 2013
The Mumbai Ranji Trophy team celebrate their 40th title triumph after beating Saurashtra at the Wankhede Stadium. Coach Sulakshan Kulkarni is encircled
The Mumbai Ranji Trophy team celebrate their 40th title triumph after beating Saurashtra at the Wankhede Stadium. Coach Sulakshan Kulkarni is encircled

Shetty was confident that the MCA would be able to procure a No Objection Certificate from the BCCI to be able to utilise Rajput’s services. “We don’t see any issues in getting an NOC. There are no India ‘A’ tournaments scheduled in the next couple of months,” he added.

The coach and four selectors had met the Technical Committee to put forward their views on Friday — a week after the committee had recommended their removal after a dismal season.

Kulkarni refused to comment on the issue. “I’ve yet to get an official communication from the MCA. I would not like to comment at the moment,” he said last evening.

Yesterday’s decision ends Kulkarni’s three-year tenure with the Mumbai Ranji team. Under his guidance, Mumbai lost in the Ranji Trophy semi-final in 2011-12. The following year, they won the
championship for the 40th time. And this season, the defending champions were knocked out in the quarter-finals.

A source said Kulkarni’s poor man-management skills went against him. “Nobody had confidence in Kulkarni’s man-management skills. He did not enjoy a great relationship with some senior players as well. Most of them felt the coach interfered too much during matches. These were some of the things that went against him,” he said.

The source claimed most of the committee members felt the selectors should not be sacked. “They did nothing wrong. The team did well in the first innings against Maharashtra, but failed in the second dig. There was no point blaming the selectors for the debacle,” said the source.

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