In recent years, it appeared a bit warped to bring up Mumbai’s superiority in the Ranji Trophy when everything else around that near-infallibility was disintegrating.
To people, who had their ear to the ground in city cricket, winning the national championship with such regularity was nothing short of irony.
With Maharashtra pushing Mumbai out of the Ranji Trophy in the quarter-finals last Friday, this irony has now been put to sleep. Mumbai’s Ranji ejection would not have been a worry had they not played so poorly after putting up 400-plus runs in the first innings. After that, Maharashtra steamrolled their opponents to a point where experts were tempted to attach the ‘can’t bat, can’t bowl, can’t field’ tag to the 40-time champions.
It was disappointing for Mumbai fans to see an India under-19 player (Vijay Zol) spank Zaheer Khan, who is India’s most experienced and accomplished paceman.
Mumbai cricket’s dark days cannot be attributed to the players alone. Sure, they need to show more passion, but the administrators must lead by example. Poor administration only leads to loose, careless cricket.
The current regime promised clubs that there will be more matches for them if they embrace the new-look Kanga League. Now, due to some reported goof-up in the scheduling, clubs are short of games. Of course, this is no reason for Mumbai to lose to Maharashtra, but these are factors that lead to poor player-development.
Mumbai ruled domestic cricket just like West Indies dominated world cricket. If mediocrity persists in all areas, we will soon see a West Indies-like situation.
The big guns at the Mumbai Cricket Association must spend more time this season in plugging the big holes in this rocking ship and less time in plotting downfalls of their fellow administrators who may have better vision than them.
The ruling officials need the best brains to get that ‘C’ in ‘MCA’ right. Cricketers — past and present — will play the biggest role in the revival. It’s already late, but the game of cricket is kind to those who believe that it is never over till the last ball is bowled.