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Mumbai's cricket is at an all-time low: Lalchand Rajput

Newly-appointed Mumbai coach slams team after ouster from the Vijay Hazare Trophy 

>> Rajput says proper planning was lacking
>> Some players froze in certain situations, he says
>> Coach also criticises selection of a few players

Lalchand Rajput, the newly-appointed Mumbai coach till the season ends, was furious after the team was knocked out from West Zone for the Vijay Hazare Trophy on Monday.


Mumbai’s Abhishek Nayar and Iqbal Abdulla during a practice session at Wankhede Stadium in November last year. Pic/Atul Kamble

Mumbai suffered their third defeat in four games on Monday, losing to Maharashtra by 75 runs, putting them out of contention. The only game that Mumbai managed to win was against Saurashtra on Sunday.

Rajput, who is also the India ‘A’ coach, blasted the performance: “It was really shocking. We showed very poor standards. This is not the Mumbai cricket that I know. That khadoos attitude was completely missing. Some players froze in certain situations. I think Mumbai’s cricket is at an all-time low,” a livid Rajput told mid-day.

Rajput, who replaced Sulakshan Kulkarni as coach, was officially handed over charge just a few days before the team left for Rajkot. The team and the captain (young Suryakumar Yadav) were selected only a day before the team left for Rajkot.

“We had less time to prepare. I feel proper planning could have resulted in a better performance. However, this shouldn’t be an excuse for such a poor performance. We also missed a few key players like Wasim Jaffer, Siddhesh Lad and Hiken Shah due to injuries. Their availability could have made a difference,” he lamented.

Around 35 players underwent a month-long training camp at Mumbai Cricket Association’s indoor academy at BKC before the tournament kicked off.

‘Some players lacked basics’
Rajput questioned the role of academy coaches: “I don’t know what are our academy coaches are doing. Some players lacked basics. There were some guys in this team who lacked temperament and shouldn’t have been there. Some tough decisions should be taken,” Rajput said.


Lalchand Rajput

Pacer Javed Khan, a key member of Mumbai’s Ranji Trophy campaign, and Vishal Dabholkar, who finished as highest wicket-taker amongst spinners in the Ranji Trophy, did not get a match in the tournament. “We already had Dhawal Kulkarni, Shardul Thakur and Saurabh Netravalkar in the pace department. Shardul is a promising bowler so it was important to give him enough matches. That will only make him better. In the spin department, we had a left-arm spinner in Iqbal Abdulla. It isn’t possible to play every squad member in all matches. Some will miss out, but all these players are still in the scheme of things,” he said.

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