Spin, a challenge for starters in Mumbai team

Nov 01, 2018, 08:20 IST | Harit N Joshi

Mumbai's coach Vinayak Samant is concerned about quality of spinners in their ranks as 41-time Ranji Trophy champions take on Railways in opening clash at Delhi's Karnail Singh Stadium today

Spin, a challenge for starters in Mumbai team
Mumbai will be led by Dhawal Kulkarni (left) in the Ranji Trophy opener

Change is a constant for Mumbai this season. From having a new coach [Vinayak Samant], new captain [Dhawal Kulkarni for the first Ranji Trophy match] and new backroom staff, the 41-time champions will adorn a new avatar this season. Despite kicking off preparations for the season late due to the delay in finding a successor to coach Sameer Dighe and the brouhaha over replacing the senior selection panel for allegedly not watching enough local matches, the Mumbai outfit still managed to triumph in the domestic season-opening Vijay Hazare Trophy after 12 long years.

All eyes on Ranji Trophy
However, it is the performance in the Ranji Trophy which kicks off today that will define whether the season has been successful. Pace spearhead Kulkarni, who made his captaincy debut in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, will lead Mumbai in their opening clash against Railways at the Karnail Singh Stadium in New Delhi today. Mumbai coach Samant said batsmen's skill will be truly tested as the ball is expected to keep low in the opening encounter. "We are well prepared as a team. However, I don't think there will be enough bounce on the pitch... it will be quite low. Therefore, our batsmen will have to play smart cricket.

Test of technique
"They will have to take their head a bit forward and quickly adjust to the low bounce. Shots like the cut and pull will not be recommended. The batsmen will have to put their wicket at risk if they try cross-batted shots. It is important that they play close to their body," Samant told mid-day yesterday. Samant also felt Mumbai's spin bowling department is an area of concern going into the season. "After Ramesh Powar, we have struggled to get a good off-spinner. Although we have two promising bowlers in Karsh Kothari and Shams Mulani, spin bowling is something where we are lacking a bit. "Our fast bowling unit is quite set with Dhawal leading the attack and Tushar Deshpande providing good support," said Samant.

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