Ranji Trophy: Mumbai only have ourselves to blame, says Pravin Amre
Mumbai took the field against less-fancied Jammu & Kashmir in their Ranji Trophy opener yesterday with as many as three debutants. However, the 40-time champions were soon given a reality check after the Mumbai batters put up a spineless show to crash to 236 at the stroke of tea on Day One at the Wankhede Stadium. Waseem Raza (3-29) and vice-captain Ram Dayal (3-51) were the pick of the bowlers for J&K.
Mumbai skipper Suryakumar Yadav is bowled by J&K's Waseem Raza at the Wankhede yesterday. Yadav top-scored for Mumbai with 57. Pic/Atul Kamble
J&K, who progressed to the elite group this season, ensured it was a fruitful first day, scoring 88 for one at stumps. It seemed a good toss to win for Mumbai after debutants Kevin Almeida (19) and Bravish Shetty put up a half-century stand for the first wicket. The decision to send the duo at the top and make regular opener Aditya Tare bat at No 4 also seemed to be paying off but once Shetty (35) was caught and bowled by Dayal, there was no shortage of success for the opposition bowlers.
At one stage, Mumbai were tottering at 134-5 with experienced players like Wasim Jaffer (15), Tare (23) and Abhishek Nayar (18) back in the pavilion. The third debutant Shreyas Iyer, batting at No 7, departed on seven without making any impact. Suryakumar Yadav leading the side in his first Ranji Trophy match provided some spark as he powered his way to a 55-ball 57. Medium-pacer Dhawal Kulkarni (42 not out) was rewarded for his patience.
Mumbai coach Pravin Amre was disappointed with the start to their Ranji season. "The first day is always important, but we only have ourselves to blame. Our shot selection was poor. We need more disciplined batting. We need to play special cricket and show our character otherwise we may lose this match outright," warned Amre.
Meanwhile, J&K showed that hurdles could be overcome even with limited resources. The devastating September floods left the players with no time to prepare for the season. Their kits were all washed away. Most of the players were involved in rescue work during the floods and they only had a 15-day camp at Nagpur before their Ranji opener.
To an extent, J&K skipper Parvez Rasool's (2-35) selection in the India team and World Cup probables is proving to be a game-changer. "We are unfazed when it comes to tackling bigger teams now," said Rasool.
The Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) decided to replace off-spinner Akshay Girap at the 11th hour after realising that a fresh No Objection Certificate from Railways was not received.
Girap, who played one first-class match for Railways in 2009, was replaced by Sufiyan Shaikh just before the start of the Ranji Trophy opener. "We had an old NOC. As per the Railways' rules, one has to submit a fresh NOC every year," MCA Joint Honorary Secretary Nitin Dalal told mid-day.