Just-retired Amol Muzumdar, who during a 21-year career became the top run-getter in Ranji Trophy, provides hope for the disillusioned
Usually a sportsperson thanks his family and coaches when he hangs his boots, but Amol Muzumdar went a step further as he personally greeted every journalist present for his big announcement yesterday at the Khar Gymkhana — an unusual gesture nowadays from cricketers.
Amol Muzumdar during a media interaction as his father Anil looks on. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
Muzumdar rarely hid his emotions on the field, and the story was no different yesterday when the Mumbai stalwart paused for a while with deep emotion after announcing that he was ending his 21-year long domestic career in India.
The former Mumbai skipper, who will turn 40 on November 11, will continue to play cricket in Holland where he also undertook a coaching stint with the national team last year.
Muzumdar is one of those unfortunate cricketers who never got to represent India despite prolific performances on the domestic circuit. But he does not regret it.
"It's a very satisfying feeling. Every sportsperson craves for that satisfying feeling. I did dream of playing for the country, but then came to terms with it over the years.
I realised one thing, that beyond the boundary line, it does not matter whom you are representing. I only thought of giving my best every time," Muzumdar said.
During his illustrious career, Muzumdar became the highest run-getter in the Ranji Trophy before it was reclaimed by his former Mumbai teammate Wasim Jaffer. After ending his 15-year stint with Mumbai, Muzumdar moved to play for Assam in 2009 and later to Andhra. He ended up scoring 11,167 first-class runs.
Muzumdar would have ended his career in 2002 had it not been for his father Anil. "I almost gave up cricket. I went into a shell.
I did not know where my next run would come from. I did not train for a month. But my father insisted I go to England as I had signed a contract with a team there. He told me I could quit after coming back from England.
"My father had slipped a hanging ball in my kit bag. I would practice with it in my formative years. The passion came back. I would hit 400 to 500 balls in a day. My game was back on track," recalled Muzumdar.
Although he continued to go from strength to strength in his domestic career, Muzumdar gave up on making an India cut in 2005-06. "I had scored a lot of runs but wasn't picked. That's when I felt that my India chance was a shut door," he said.
Muzumdar may have given up on the India cap, but that craving for an international appearance is still there. "I am eligible for selection for the Netherlands team now. I have fulfilled their four-year criteria. Never say never in cricket! I would love to represent Holland if given a chance," he signed off.
Amol Muzumdar's Top 5 unforgettable moments
First-class debut (1994)
My first one has to be my first-class debut — in a Ranji Trophy match against Haryana — in 1994 at Faridabad. That innings of 260 is still so fresh in my mind. I went in with the scoreboard reading 47 for 2. I nearly got out at 93 and Ravi Shastri told me that the first one is always hard to get so 'stay there and get it'. His words strengthened me and I got there.
Lifting the Ranji Trophy (1993-94)
It was an incredible feeling to lift the Ranji Trophy for the first time in 1993-94 during my debut season. (Muzumdar scored 78 in the final against Bengal). I remember the great team meeting Ravi Shastri conducted the night before the game. We were so pumped up that we could have played that game at that very moment — 8 pm — when the team meeting ended.
Mumbai-Delhi Ranji final (1997-98)
It (144 in the first innings) was one of my best knocks. The stadium at Gwalior was full; a Test match-like atmosphere. Mumbai versus Delhi and you just can't go wrong. It was a great game.
2003-04 Ranji final
I played one of my better knocks in the final against Tamil Nadu. (Muzumdar top-scored for Mumbai with 146 runs as Mumbai won on first innings).
2006-07 Ranji triumph
One of the best victories for Mumbai in a final; a huge sigh of relief when we got that final Bengal wicket (Ashok Dinda). There was tremendous pressure as captain after losing three matches in a row.
No of first-class matches he figured in since 1993-94. He scored 260 on debut vs Haryana
His batting average in first-class cricket from 1993-94 to 2013-14
No of first-class runs he scored during his 21-year domestic career
No of first-class centuries he scored in addition to double the amount of fifties
The number of runs he scored against Glenn McGrath, Brett Lee and Shane Watson in Mumbai's game against the visiting Australians at CCI in 2004. Muzumdar rates this knock highly. His 52 came off 97 balls with five fours