Ranji Trophy: Mumbai was never so weak, says J&K coach Sunil Joshi

Jammu & Kashmir coach Sunil Joshi critical of 40-time champions' batsmanship

Forty-time champion Mumbai got one of their biggest shocks in Ranji Trophy history after Jammu & Kashmir, minnows in the Elite group of the national championship, convincingly beat the domestic giants in their season-opening match yesterday.

J&K's Umar Nazir celebrates the wicket of Aditya Tare on Day Two of the Ranji Trophy tie at Wankhede on Monday. Pic/Atul Kamble
J&K's Umar Nazir celebrates the wicket of Aditya Tare on Day Two of the Ranji Trophy tie at Wankhede on Monday. Pic/Atul Kamble 

Yesterday's loss was Mumbai's back-to-back outright defeat at the Wankhede Stadium, last being the quarter-final against Maharashtra in the previous season.

Chasing 237 to win, J&K, who needed 179 to win with nine wickets in hand on the fourth and final day, went about their task meticulously.

Although the visitors lost overnight batsman Bandeep Singh for 12 in the fourth over of the day, centurion of the first innings Shubham Khajuria stitched crucial partnerships — first with Ian Dev Singh of 52 runs and a then 53-run stand with skipper Parvez Rasool — to help J&K clinch a historic four-wicket victory.

Sunil Joshi
Sunil Joshi 

J&K were in a spot of bother when Khajuria (78) and Rasool (32) departed in successive overs, but senior batsman Hardeep Singh (41 not out) steered the team to victory with the help of Waseem Raza (16) and Obaid Haroon (nine not out).

Players skip lunch
The nervousness to reach the target forced the batsmen to skip lunch, it is learnt. The J&K camp went berserk as soon as Haroon hit the winning runs.

"A lot of people had doubts about whether we can play good cricket in the Elite group. We showed today that we have the talent and the ability to play a good level of cricket. Beating Mumbai in their backyard is a special feeling," said Rasool.

Former India spinner Sunil Joshi, who took over J&K's coaching reigns from Bishan Singh Bedi this season, was critical of Mumbai's batting.

"This is the first time I am seeing a Mumbai team that is so weak. Mumbai was always known for its batsmanship and that is why they have produced so many great batsmen. But this lot did not seem ready to accept the challenge," said the former left-arm spinner.

However, Mumbai coach Pravin Amre said it was important to be patient. "This is a young team. It is important to back talented players.

This is going to be a challenge. In my first year as coach (in 2005-06), we lost three matches in the beginning, but then went on to win the title. It's easy to criticise," said Amre.

Brief scores
Mumbai 236 & 254 (S Yadav 115; R Dayal 5-76, U Nazir 4-49) lost to J&K 254 & 237-6 (S Khajuria 78, H Singh 41*; V Dabholkar 2-66) by 4 wickets  

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