Ajay Ratra, Pritam Gandhe eye Mumbai coach job
Pritam Gandhe, a former Air India cricketer, claimed 340 wickets in 100 first-class games
In a surprising development, former India stumper Ajay Ratra, who represented Haryana and ex-Vidarbha off-spinner Pritam Gandhe are also in the fray to become the next head coach of the Mumbai team. And while there are two wicketkeepers – Ratra and Mumbai man Vinayak Samant and two off-spinners Gandhe and Ramesh Powar – who have applied for the post, it is learnt that former Mumbai under-19 coach Vinod Raghavan and former Maharashtra player Nandan Phadnis, have also thrown their hats in the ring.
Ratra, who played six Tests and 12 ODIs, scored 4029 runs and had 260 victims in 99 first-class games, coached the Punjab Ranji Trophy team last season. "If I do get an opportunity to coach the Mumbai team, I will strive to provide them a good atmosphere for practice. It is very necessary to have a good ambiance in the dressing room. It is important for each player to execute his role efficiently and play as a team," Ratra told mid-day from Faridabad. Earlier, he was Assam's under-19 coach when they beat Mumbai U-19 by 119 runs in a Cooch Behar Trophy league match in December 2016.
Gandhe, a former Air India cricketer, claimed 340 wickets in 100 first-class games. He coached the Vidarbha Ranji Trophy team in 2010 before becoming a match referee. He was also part of the national junior selection committee from 2011 to 2015. "I came to Mumbai at the age of 16. Vasu sir [Paranjape] and [Hemant] Hadkar sir coached me at the Matunga ground. I used to play the Kanga League for Dadar Union along with Dilip Vengsarkar and other top cricketers. Mumbai taught me what 'khadoos' cricket is. If given a chance, I just want to rebuild that essence in Mumbai cricket, something which I think is missing nowadays," Gandhe said.
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