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Sandeep Patil will be chief of Mumbai's senior selection committee

India's current chief selector had relinquished his Mumbai post last April citing lack of time to be involved in city cricket

Sandeep Patil has returned as Mumbai's senior selection committee chief. Patil responded to the Mumbai Cricket Association's (MCA) official request to head the panel that includes his former captain Milind Rege, erstwhile spinner Sanjay Patil and batsman Nishit Shetty.

Sandeep Patil is all set to take the driver's seat in Mumbai cricket again
Sandeep Patil is all set to take the driver's seat in Mumbai cricket again 

India's current chief selector relinquished his Mumbai post last April citing lack of time to be involved in city cricket. This time, however, Patil is confident of doing justice to his Mumbai role after the MCA devised a plan to convince him.

"I agreed to come back because all that I am, is because of Mumbai cricket. I quit as chairman of selectors because I did not have the time, but the MCA committee has worked out a way where I am apprised of the talented players and key fixtures," Patil told mid-day yesterday.

On April 3, mid-day reported that the MCA is hell-bent on getting Patil back as chief selector. The last selection committee led by Deepak Jadhav was expected to be replaced once Mumbai's Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 campaign ended due to poor Net Run Rate as compared to Gujarat, who qualified for the All-India round from West Zone along with Baroda.

The MCA has gone in for a complete overhaul of selection committees (see box) following one of Mumbai's worst seasons in recent times. Mumbai were knocked out in the Ranji Trophy quarter-final before making a tame exit from the Vijay Hazare Trophy in the league stage. Mumbai suffered a similar fate in the T20 tournament, failing to qualify for the knockout round.

mid-day's April 3 edition with the report of Sandeep Patil's possible return as MCA selector
mid-day's April 3 edition with the report of Sandeep Patil's possible return as MCA selector 

Patil is confident Mumbai will bounce back. "There has to be patience with Mumbai cricket. I alone cannot get things back on track. It requires teamwork and I am positive Mumbai will be back. Nothing happens overnight even when it concerns a team that has won the Ranji Trophy 40 times.

We have to rebuild now. Mumbai cricket is going through a transition period and things will take time," said Patil. The former India coach stressed on patience: "I keep harping on patience because I have been in these situations of struggle before when I have coached smaller teams. With Kenya, it took four years. The emergence of Madhya Pradesh as a force in domestic cricket took five years and Oman were shaped in two years."

Eager to get things back on track, the MCA also decided to make it compulsory for Mumbai players to play a minimum of five Dr HD Kanga Cricket League matches. "Players should play five Kanga League matches if they are not on national duty," said Dr PV Shetty, MCA's Joint Honorary Secretary.

Meanwhile, the decision to appoint the Mumbai Ranji Trophy coach was deferred to April 9. Former captains Ajit Agarkar and Sairaj Bahutule are in the reckoning.

Selection panels

Senior and U-25 selection committee: Sandeep Patil (chief), Milind Rege, Sanjay Patil, Nishit Shetty. U-19: Ranjan Baindoor (chief), P Desai, S Shinde, Arun Shetty. U-16: S Khanolkar (chief), M Tamhane, Nilesh Bhosale,
B Shah. U-14: Ramesh Vazge (chief), A Sawant, P Sawant,
A Bhalekar. Senior women's: Arundhati Ghosh (chief), K Murkar, H Naik, J Dadarkar. U-19 women's: Trupti Bhattacharya (chief), S Kamat, Nilesh Patwardhan, Surekha Bhandare.
University selection committee: Vineet Mehta, JP Jadhav.

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