The 1980-81 final against a star-studded Delhi team at the Wankhede Stadium is close to my heart. It was also my maiden Ranji Trophy final.
It was memorable for two reasons: Firstly, I ended with the best bowling figures in an innings in Ranji Trophy (6-72 in the first innings).
Secondly, I picked up the wickets of Arun Lal (9), Surinder Khanna (8) and Madan Lal (0).
Dismissing them gave me so much confidence that I did well against them in future matches as well.
They could never score too much off me and probably, I had gained a psychological edge over them.
I bowled almost non-stop till the tea break on the first day in overcast conditions. I learnt some important lessons from that final. Being in the company of some of the greats of Mumbai cricket helped me a lot when I played for India later.
Mumbai’s ‘never-give-up’ attitude helped me play my cricket the hard way. I learnt that there was absolutely no substitute for hard work.
Ashok Mankad scored a double hundred (265) in Mumbai’s (then Bombay) first innings. During the break he told us, ‘I won’t get out now’.
That era of Mumbai cricket was extraordinary. Players like Mankad would murder any attack if they were not dismissed early. Such was their aura and legacy.
Mumbai’s very best cricketers will recall their memorable Ranji Trophy finals for mid-day readers right till the last day of the Mumbai vs Saurashtra Ranji Trophy final in Pune (Feb 24-28).
Delhi 1st innings: 251 (Rakesh Shukla 120; BS Sandhu 6-72) Bombay 517 (Ghulam Parkar 121, Ashok Mankad 265; Madan Lal 8-118) Delhi 2nd innings: 220 (Surinder Khanna 60; Suru Nayak 6-65). Bombay won by an innings and 46 runs