mid-day turns 40: Highs, wides and those handsome contributions

Updated: Jun 28, 2019, 08:13 IST | Devendra Prabhudesai

Mumbai cricket's 40 landmark moments across four decades are not only about victories...triumphs of the spirit too

mid-day turns 40: Highs, wides and those handsome contributions
Sachin Tendulkar

mid-day's 40th anniversaryShastri flies to Kiwiland

Ravi Shastri felicitated by Vijay Merchant
Ravi Shastri felicitated by Vijay Merchant

Dilip Doshi, India's premier left-arm spinner of the time, was ruled out of the first Test of a series against New Zealand in February 1981, due to a toe injury. A security officer at Green Park, Kanpur, heard the news of replacement on radio and conveyed the news to Ravi Shastri, 18, who was representing Mumbai against Uttar Pradesh in the Ranji Trophy quarter-final. The left-arm spinner batted at No. 10 and took six wickets on his Test debut at Wellington.

Sachin's big full stop

Sachin Tendulkar lifted by Virat Kohli (left) and MS Dhoni at the conclusion of his farewell Test
Sachin Tendulkar lifted by Virat Kohli (left) and MS Dhoni at the conclusion of his farewell Test

Sachin Tendulkar sent an email to the BCCI on October 10, 2013, expressing his desire to retire from Test cricket at the end of the two-Test series against the West Indies. The Board was only too glad to accept his request to schedule the second Test, which would be his 200th, at the Wankhede Stadium. That India won the game comprehensively in November 2013 barely registered. Spectators and TV viewers wept unabashedly when Tendulkar addressed them at the end of it all.

Gavaskar's double hundred

Sunil Gavaskar
Sunil Gavaskar's 206 was invaluable for Mumbai

In March 1984, Mohinder Amarnath, Delhi's captain in the 1983-84 Ranji final at the Wankhede Stadium, won the toss and elected to bowl. Mumbai, pleasantly surprised to be asked to bat first, expressed their gratitude by amassing a massive 625. Dilip Vengsarkar scored 123 and Sunil Gavaskar, who was to lead India to victory in the inaugural Asia Cup a couple of weeks later, scored 206 and added insult to injury by opting to bat again despite dismissing Delhi for 333.

Manjrekar's triple treat

Sanjay Manjrekar
Sanjay Manjrekar

In the Mumbai v Hyderabad Ranji Trophy semi-final of the 1990-91 season, Sanjay Manjrekar surpassed many an illustrious name, including Ajit Wadekar, Sunil Gavaskar and Vijay Merchant, to register the highest individual score by a Mumbai batsman. Mumbai's 855-6 was at that stage, the second-highest score in the Ranji Trophy.

Humdinger at Wankhede

Kapil Dev and Co celebrate their Ranji triumph
Kapil Dev and Co celebrate their Ranji triumph

The 57th season of the Ranji Trophy ended with arguably the greatest final in the history of the competition in May 1991. Kapil Dev's Haryana took on a Mumbai outfit comprising seven Test cricketers at the Wankhede. The underdogs took the first innings lead. Mumbai, chasing 355, were 34-3 at the stroke of lunch on the final day. An incredible counterattack followed. Mumbai were only three runs short when Abey Kuruvilla, the No. 11, was run out. Dilip Vengsarkar was left disconsolate on 139.

'Typhoon' the teacher!

Frank Tyson
Frank Tyson at the BCA-Mafatlal Scheme

The MCA teamed up with Mafatlals to institute a scheme to groom bowlers. In 1990, Mafatlals asked Nari Contractor, the former India captain, who was employed with them, to find a coach to head the scheme. Frank 'Typhoon' Tyson was approached and he accepted. The results speak for themselves — Salil Ankola, Abey Kuruvilla, Paras Mhambrey, Sairaj Bahutule and Nilesh Kulkarni, among others emerged.

Prithvi launched at Azad Maidan

Prithvi Shaw
Prithvi Shaw

Four days after the last Test of an individual (Sachin Tendulkar), who had first made waves in his teens, Prithvi Shaw, 14, scored 546 for Rizvi Springfield against St Francis D' Assisi in the Harris Shield at Azad Maidan on November 20, 2013. Those who had seen the Virar resident bat before were not surprised. Shaw put on 619 for the second wicket with Satyalaksh Jain, who scored 164.

Ranji Trophy drought ends

Ravi Shastri with young gun Amol Muzumdar
Ravi Shastri with young gun Amol Muzumdar

Mumbai, led by Ravi Shastri, beat Bengal in the Ranji Trophy final inside four days at the Wankhede Stadium on March 30 to break an eight-season jinx. The pace bowling hero was Manish Patel, who claimed seven in the match while Shastri and Sairaj Bahutule led the spin charge. Assertive batting and penetrative bowling ensured an eight-wicket win, achieved with star players Sachin Tendulkar, Sanjay Manjrekar, Vinod Kambli and Salil Ankola on India duty in New Zealand.

Sachin on song

Sachin Tendulkar with the 1994-95 Ranji Trophy
Sachin Tendulkar with the 1994-95 Ranji Trophy

Sachin Tendulkar played only five Ranji Trophy games in the 1994-95 season, but he made every one of them count. He scored more runs than any other batsman, with 856 at 122.00, inclusive of five centuries. The Mumbai captain was at his best in the summit clash against Punjab in March 1995, which his team won on first-innings lead. He followed an innings of 140 in the first innings with 139 in the second. Sanjay Manjrekar, Sameer Dighe, Vinod Kambli and Sairaj Bahutule were also among the runs.

Pranav slams 1,009. Yes, 1,009

Pranav Dhanawade
Pranav Dhanawade

Prithvi Shaw's two-year-old record for the highest individual score by an Indian in minor cricket was broken by Pranav Dhanawade,15. A student of Smt KC Gandhi School, Kalyan, Dhanawade amassed 1,009 against Arya Gurukul in the under-16 HT Bhandari Cup on January 5, 2016. His innings earned him encomiums from across the cricketing world. The Mumbai Cricket Association announced a monthly scholarship of R10,000 for the youngster. For the record, Dhanawade's team declared at 1465-3 and won by an innings and 1382 runs.

Awesome against the Aussies

The Mumbai team, which beat Australia at the CCI in 1998.
The Mumbai team, which beat Australia at the CCI in 1998. Pics/mid-day archives

The 1997-98 series between India and Australia was billed as a duel between Sachin Tendulkar and Shane Warne. The superstars were first pitted against each other in a three-day game between the visitors and Mumbai, the Ranji champions of the previous season in February. After Australia declared at 305-8, the Mumbai batsmen attacked Warne from the start. Tendulkar came in at 71-2 and annihilated the opposition with an innings of 204. It was his first double century in first-class cricket as Mumbai won by 10 wickets.

Glow at Gwalior

Sanjay Manjrekar with selector Milind Rege
Sanjay Manjrekar with selector Milind Rege

Mumbai and Delhi faced off under lights in the Ranji Trophy final of the 1996-97 season. Mumbai won the five-day game, played at Gwalior in April on first-innings lead. Unlike the pink balls which have been used in the XI day-night Tests played so far, white balls were used in the Ranji final, with a new ball available after 40 overs and a change mandatory after 50 overs.

Sachin's Ranji debut ton

Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin Tendulkar

Sachin Tendulkar became the youngest player to represent Mumbai when he took the field in a Ranji Trophy West Zone league game against Gujarat at the Wankhede in December 1988. Watching from the North Stand were his friends and schoolmates. Seated opposite them at the Pavilion end were the likes of Sunil Gavaskar and Eknath Solkar, among other luminaries. Tendulkar proceeded to score a round ton. He was only 15 years, seven months and 17 days old.

Emphatic win

The 1984-85 Mumbai Ranji Trophy team
The 1984-85 Mumbai Ranji Trophy team

The season 1984-85 was Ravi Shastri's annus mirabilis. Three weeks after he had been crowned Champion of Champions in the World Championship of Cricket, he featured in the summit clash of the Ranji Trophy against traditional rivals Delhi in April 1985. Mumbai conceded a first-innings lead of 65, which prompted a Delhi player to advise his opponents to 'polish the trophy before his team took it away.' Needing 300 to win outright, Delhi were bowled out for 209 with that man Shastri taking 8-91.

Ekkie's high

Eknath Solkar with the Ranji Trophy in 1981
Eknath Solkar with the Ranji Trophy in 1981

Mumbai outplayed Delhi in the 1980-81 Ranji Trophy final by an innings in March 1981. Ashok Mankad, veteran of many successful Ranji campaigns, scored 265 in Mumbai's only innings. His contemporary Eknath Solkar, who captained Mumbai that season, retired from first-class cricket after securing the city's 28th Ranji title. Padmakar Shivalkar, another stalwart, also bid farewell. There was a twist in his tale; he was recalled for the Ranji knockouts in the 1987-88 season, a couple of months before he turned 48.

Gooch sweeps, India weeps

Graham Gooch
Graham Gooch swept his way to glory

India were the overwhelming favourites for the second semi-final of the fourth World Cup at the Wankhede in November 1987. The capacity crowd was silenced by Graham Gooch, who neutralised Shastri and Maninder Singh, India's trump-cards, with an innings of 115 that was replete with sweeps, slog-sweeps and paddle sweeps. The England opener's extensive practice of the stroke on the eve of the game came in handy.

Mhambrey's match

Paras Mhambrey, who demolished Rest of India
Paras Mhambrey, who demolished Rest of India

Sachin Tendulkar's Mumbai took less than three days to beat the Nayan Mongia-led Rest of India in the Irani Cup encounter at the Wankhede Stadium in October 1995. The Rest were skittled out for 99, with Paras Mhambrey taking 5-20. Mumbai's response was dominated by Vinod Kambli, who contributed 112 to a total of 266. Another three-wicket haul by Mhambrey and incisive bowling by his colleagues restricted the Rest to 186 in the second innings.

Ruling the world

The MS Dhoni-led Indian team celebrate its 2011 World Cup win at the Wankhede Stadium
The MS Dhoni-led Indian team celebrate its 2011 World Cup win at the Wankhede Stadium

The Wankhede Stadium became the second Indian venue to host a World Cup final. The highlight of Sri Lanka's innings was a hundred by Mahela Jayawardene on April 2, 2011. Chasing 275, India lost Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar early. The spectators rediscovered their ebullience when Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli rebuilt the innings with a stand of 83. Kohli's dismissal brought in Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who like Gambhir, batted brilliantly. The Indian captain completed a famous victory with a six over long-on.

Big boys play at night

The Wankhede Stadium in 1996
The Wankhede Stadium in 1996

The Wankhede Stadium was one of many Indian venues which were embellished with floodlights just before the 1996 World Cup. The arena made its day-night debut during the tournament, with a league encounter between India and Australia on February 27. Batting first, Australia scored 258 with Mark Waugh getting 126. India lost two early wickets before Sachin Tendulkar put the chase back on track with an audacious 90. Australia regained control after he was stumped off a wide and then won by 16 runs.

Triumph for Gen Next

Shardul Thakur
Shardul Thakur

Aditya Tare's outfit, which clashed with Saurashtra in the 2015-16 Ranji Trophy final in February looked different from the one that had beaten the same team in the 2012-13 final. Sachin Tendulkar, Wasim Jaffer and Ajit Agarkar had moved on while Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane were on national duty. Shreyas Iyer scored 117 in Mumbai's only innings, thus finishing the season with an aggregate of 1,321. Shardul Thakur (left) and veteran Dhawal Kulkarni excelled with the ball as Mumbai won by an innings.

No sada effort in Mysore

Mumbai's Dhawal Kulkarni's fine batting thwarted Karnataka in the 2009-10 final
Mumbai's Dhawal Kulkarni's fine batting thwarted Karnataka in the 2009-10 final

Mumbai beat Karnataka in a cracker of a Ranji Trophy final in January 2010 at Mysore. The bowlers of both sides were dominant, but Mumbai managed to stay in front. Wasim Jaffer's side took a first innings lead of 103 and timely fifties by Abhishek Nayar and Dhawal Kulkarni in the second innings left Karnataka with a stiff 338 to get. Manish Pandey all but turned the game on its head with a brilliant 144, but Mumbai hung on and eventually prevailed by six runs.

Sachincredible

Sachin Tendulkar and captain Sameer Dighe
Sachin Tendulkar and captain Sameer Dighe

Sachin Tendulkar spearheaded Mumbai's quest to score 486 to take the first-innings lead against Tamil Nadu in the Ranji semi-final of the 1999-00 season in April. He added 139 with Kambli and a further 125 with Muzumdar. Then, he guided and goaded the lower order to stay with him. Abey Kuruvilla's dismissal at 472 brought Santosh Saxena, the No. 11 to the crease. Tamil Nadu went for the kill, but Tendulkar's determination to take his team through, prevailed. He was undefeated on 233.

MCA's new home

The Cricket Centre which houses the MCA
The Cricket Centre which houses the MCA

"One of the greatest feats of camouflage since a wolf put on sheep's clothing!" This was how John Wright, India's coach from 2000 to 2005, described the 'old' BCCI office at the Brabourne Stadium. The magnificent Cricket Centre was inaugurated during the ICC Champions Trophy in 2006. The MCA shifted its base to the third floor and the second floor became the long-awaited, permanent HQ of the BCCI. The top floor subsequently became the IPL office.

Shardashram versus England

Tendulkar, Amre and Kambli in 1993
Tendulkar, Amre and Kambli in 1993

India beat England by an innings and 15 runs at the Wankhede Stadium to complete their first-ever clean sweep of a series in March 1993. The highlight of the game was an innings of 224 by Vinod Kambli. Two other alumni of Shardashram Vidyamandir also excelled – Sachin Tendulkar and Pravin Amre scored 78 and 57 respectively. Ramakant Achrekar, their coach, watched approvingly from the stands. The densely populated stands also comprised fans who waved a banner, which read 'Shardashram vs England!'

Utterly delightful Amol in Faridabad

Amol Muzumdar, who enjoyed a fruitful debut
Amol Muzumdar, who enjoyed a fruitful debut

Amol Muzumdar was thrilled to be presented his Mumbai cap by Ravi Shastri, his captain, on the first morning of the 1993-94 Ranji Trophy pre-quarter-final against Haryana at Faridabad in February 1994. The debutant had spent a lot of time as a reserve and was therefore eager to make a mark. He went on to rewrite the record books with an innings of 260. It remains the highest individual score made by a batsman on his first-class debut. Mumbai won by an innings and 202 runs.

Schoolboys have a ball

Sachin and Vinod with Hanumant Singh
Sachin and Vinod with Hanumant Singh (left)

The St Xavier's players wouldn't have known what awaited them when Sachin Tendulkar, the Shardashram captain, joined his teammate Vinod Kambli in the middle at 84-2 on the first day of the Harris Shield semis in February of 1988. The carnage ended only the next day because Ramakant Achrekar, the Shardashram coach, admonished and instructed his wards to declare. Tendulkar (326*) and Kambli (349*) added 664, which at that point was the highest partnership in any class of cricket. The duo entered the Guinness Book of World Records.

SMG becomes a southpaw

Sunny Gavaskar

Mumbai were in danger of losing to Karnataka outright in the Ranji Trophy semi-final in March 1982, but Sunil Gavaskar, who had scored 340 in the quarter-final against Bengal, would have none of it. The Mumbai captain came in at No. 8 in the second innings, with his team needing 39 to avoid an innings defeat. With Raghuram Bhat, the left-arm spinner, making the ball swerve away from the right-handers, Gavaskar decided to bat left-handed. He did so for 60 balls and ensured a draw, but Karnataka advanced on the basis of first innings lead.

India's youngest Test cricketer!

Sachin Tendulkar during his debut series
Sachin Tendulkar during his debut series

Sachin Tendulkar's performance for Mumbai in the 1988-89 season of the Ranji Trophy – 583 runs @ 64.7 – put him in the running for a place in the Indian team for the tour of Pakistan in the next season. This was November 1989. Three national selectors were in his favour, but two were worried about what might happen 'if he failed.' "I would like to tell you one thing. Sachin Tendulkar does not fail," Naren Tamhane said to Raj Singh Dungarpur, the chairman. That was that.

Mumbai in T20 mode

Triumph Knights Mumbai North East
Triumph Knights Mumbai North East

Triumph Knights Mumbai North East won the inaugural season of T20 Mumbai held in March 2018: They beat Shivaji Park Lions by three runs in the final. The number of teams was increased from six to eight in the second season, which was played in May 2019. North Mumbai Panthers beat SoBo Supersonics by 12 runs in the final. The three premier icons of Mumbai cricket are closely connected to the League; Sachin Tendulkar is its ambassador, Sunil Gavaskar the commissioner and Dilip Vengsarkar, the chief mentor.

A star is born

Jemimah Rodrigues

Jemimah Rodrigues, 17, lit up the West Zone under-19 tournament with her pyrotechnics on November 5, 2017. The Mumbai captain scored 202 off 163 deliveries against Saurashtra at Aurangabad for her second monumental performance of the competition (after her 178 against Gujarat). She made her T20I debut against South Africa at Potchefstroom three months later, and her ODI debut against Australia, a couple of weeks later. Her consistency yielded her the Player of the Tournament award in the Women's T20 Challenge 2019 at Jaipur.

Agarkar in command

Captain Ajit Agarkar with the Ranji Trophy
Captain Ajit Agarkar with the Ranji Trophy

Mumbai won their 40th Ranji title, beating first-time finalists Saurashtra at the Wankhede Stadium. The game marked the last of Sachin Tendulkar's six appearances in a Ranji Trophy final, five of which were won by Mumbai. The victory, achieved in less than three days, was a triumph for Ajit Agarkar, who had been appointed captain in the previous season, a couple of months after he had taken offence at being left out of the playing XI for a Ranji game against Orissa.

Pawar play begins

Sharad Pawar beat Ajit Wadekar
Sharad Pawar beat Ajit Wadekar

Sharad Pawar was elected President of the Mumbai Cricket Association in 2001. He served in that capacity till 2010-11 and had another stint from 2013 to 2016, before he resigned in the wake of the Lodha Committee's recommendations. Among the highlights of his stints were the reconstruction of the Wankhede Stadium, the creation of an indoor cricket facility at BKC and the institution of a Cricket Improvement Committee (CIC). He was president of the BCCI from 2005 to 2008.

Shaw sizzles on debut

Prithvi Shaw plays an on-side shot
Prithvi Shaw plays an on-side shot

Prithvi Shaw became the first Mumbai cricketer since Amol Muzumdar in 1993-94 to score a century on his Ranji Trophy debut. Shaw, 17, was picked in the Mumbai XI for the semi-final against Tamil Nadu at Rajkot in January 2017. He fell for four in the first innings but made up in the second innings with a match-winning 120. The hundred was the first of a unique trilogy. In October 2018, Shaw became the first batsman to score a hundred on his Ranji, Duleep and Test debut.

Up down and out

Rohit Sharma

Rohit Sharma did enough in the ICC World T20 2007 and the tri-series in Australia in 2007-08 to suggest that he would serve Indian cricket with distinction in the years to come. Uttar Pradesh were unfortunate to run into him at his best in the 2008-09 Ranji Trophy final, which was played at Hyderabad in January. Rohit scored 141 in the first innings and 108 in the second. Zaheer Khan took eight wickets in the game and Mumbai won the Ranji Trophy for the 38th time.

Shastri joins Sobers

Ravi Shastri became only the second batsman in first-class history after Sir Garfield Sobers (in 1968) to hit six sixes in a six-ball over in January 1985. He achieved this feat against Baroda in a West Zone league game of the Ranji Trophy. The all-rounder galloped from 147 to 183 in an over bowled by Tilak Raj, a part-time left-arm spinner. Shastri went on to complete the fastest double century of all time (123 balls), inclusive of 13 boundaries and the same number of sixes. Interestingly, veteran journalist Dicky Rutnagur witnessed Sobers's and Shastri's feat.

Botham v India

The BCCI celebrated its golden jubilee with a one-off Test between India and England at the Wankhede Stadium in February 1980. The game was made memorable by Ian Botham, who became the first player in history to score a century and take 10 wickets or more in the same Test. England won by 10 wickets. The Test is also remembered for the gesture of Gundappa Viswanath, India's captain. He recalled Bob Taylor, who had been declared caught behind, to the crease.

Masters of the game

Barry Richards

The CCI hosted a limited-overs tournament which saw the participation of over-35 cricketers from West Indies, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Australia, England and India. Spectators flocked to the Brabourne Stadium to watch the masters in action. The March 12, 1995 Masters Cup final between India and the West Indies featured several individuals who had played in the 1983 World Cup final. WI won this time.

The big turnaround

Skipper Muzumdar and coach Amre are lifted
Skipper Muzumdar and coach Amre are lifted

Mumbai drew a blank in their first three Ranji Trophy matches of the 2006-07 season. In early 2007, the Amol Muzumdar-led side bounced back with outright wins and bonus points in the next four games. Asked to bat in the semi-final at Baroda, Mumbai gained a first-innings lead of 91. Hopes of building on the lead vanished when they were reduced to an unprecedented 0-5. However, Mumbai found a way, courtesy Vinayak Samant and Wilkin Mota. Baroda were beaten and Bengal outplayed in the final.

New format, new venue

Shane Warne and his Rajasthan Royals team
Shane Warne and his Rajasthan Royals team

The first season of the IPL culminated with a heart-stopping final between Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings at DY Patil Sports Stadium in Navi Mumbai on June 1, 2008. The same venue hosted the final of the 2010 season, in which Chennai Super Kings, the runners-up in 2008, finished on the winning side. The venue was scheduled to host an ODI between India and Australia in 2009, but the game was washed out.

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