'When Mumbai cricket is strong, Indian cricket is strong’ is an old Indian cricketing adage. While this holds true in the current scenario, what with Mumbai’s failure to make up for their Ranji Trophy flop show and India not coming out smelling of roses in yet another overseas engagement, the adage was deemed redundant after the emphatic success of other state teams in recent years.
On Monday, Mumbai’s one-day team which lost three out of four games, were eliminated in the league stage of the Vijay Hazare Trophy by arch-rivals Maharashtra at Rajkot. No team can be kings forever, as the history of the game tells us, but every team can take pride in their competitive nature, never mind what the win/loss column displays. The pride aspect has been missing in Mumbai’s cricketing fabric and hence, we see city cricket being torn down with its backside terribly exposed.
What is Sharad Pawar and his team that rule Mumbai Cricket Association doing about it? Do they really care that the lion, which is a part of their famous red logo, has refused to roar for a while now? Several in Mumbai’s cricketing fraternity believe that the health of the game comes second to administrative one-upmanship, and votes are far more important than runs, wickets, catches and titles.
Mumbai’s batting has been abysmal for a city that produced the best batsmen in Indian cricket. It’s time to start a batting programme involving the best gurus in the business who speak the same language. A scheme like the highly successful Frank Tyson’s BCA-Mafatlal one in the early 1990s can be initiated on the bowling front.
The people who made that scheme a success are around. They are only a call away including Tyson, who even at his old age of 83, can come up with a blueprint from Queensland. Forty Ranji Trophy titles will have true significance only if significant work is put in to get closer in achieving No 41. Wake up, MCA. Your big ship is sinking.