Senior Mumbai Ranji Trophy players are miffed at not being invited to the special meeting conducted by the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) officials on Tuesday evening. Only chief selector Milind Rege and coach Sulakshan Kulkarni were reportedly called to review the 39-time champions' semi-final exit.
Mumbai players during their Ranji Trophy semi-final against Tamil Nadu
at the Wankhede Stadium recently. Pic/Suresh KK
A seasoned Mumbai campaigner said players' views needed to be heard. "If we want to take Mumbai's cricket forward, then we (players) should have been called for the review meeting. After all, we are on the field so we know where we were lacking and what exactly went wrong," said the senior cricketer.
It can be argued that the team was short on experience, but the root cause of the debacle was the lack of team spirit, according to the senior player. "There was no team spirit after what happened in Cuttack (vice-captain Ajit Agarkar left for home on the eve of the Orissa match after being left out of the playing XI). It gave out the wrong signals in the team. We reached the semis only on individual excellence," he said.
"There were no differences between the players, but the coach never created a team atmosphere. There was no passion. Players played for themselves after what happened to Agarkar," added the senior pro.
He was shocked when the team think-tank asked to prepare a flat track for the Mumbai-Rajasthan league game at the Cricket Club of India. "In my entire career, I have never heard anyone giving instructions to prepare a flat track after an outright win. We killed our bowlers' morale by doing so. It was negative thinking to be content with a first innings lead.
"There was no confidence in the team thereafter. All this (review meeting) is just a cover up. The fact is that we had the team to win the title, but we spoilt our chances by going after petty issues," said the cricketer.
It was reported that the MCA asked the coach on Tuesday whether he needed anything in terms of facilities from the association. Another senior cricketer was not impressed.
"It is important to focus on cricket rather than offering 'better facilities'. Some very 'important' people are offering it (better facilities). They should just stop this nonsense and start focusing on cricket," he said.