Start season with Police Shield, not Kanga League
According to Sulakshan Kulkarni, the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) should resume the season with the Police Shield, instead of the Dr HD Kanga Cricket League.
Former Mumbai wicketkeeper-batsman and Ranji Trophy-winning coach Sulakshan Kulkarni 53, has utilised the ongoing Coronavirus-caused lockdown to chalk out a roadmap for Mumbai cricket's local season, which could commence towards the end of the year.
According to him, the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) should resume the season with the Police Shield, instead of the Dr HD Kanga Cricket League. He says that this should then be followed by the Purshottam Shield, Times Shield and Young Comrade Shield tournaments to ensure Mumbai are well prepared for the Ranji Trophy season. "MCA should do away with the Kanga League 'A' and 'B' division this season because in Ranji Trophy, no one plays on uncovered pitches.
"Last season, our bowlers took plenty of wickets in Kanga League matches but we failed to get 20 wickets in Ranji games. We should start the season with the two-day Police Shield matches, with 12 teams, [two groups of six] from mid-September [on weekends] with the final in mid-October," Kulkarni tells mid-day.
He feels the 16-team Purshottam Shield [four groups with three league games] could be played from mid-October to mid-November followed by the Young Comrade Shield from mid-November to mid-December.
Kulkarni feels MCA could encourage corporate teams to represent U-16 and U-19 cricketers in the Times Shield 'A' and 'B' divisions.
"In the Times Shield 'A' and 'B' divisions, MCA could get corporate sides to include a couple of U-16 and U-19 players. This will benefit age-group teams as good players will get valuable practice," suggested Kulkarni, who has been part of three Ranji Trophy-winning teams (1993-94, 1994-95 and 1996-97), besides two Irani Cup triumphs of 1994-95 and 1997-98.
"Going by this schedule, around 150 players will get a minimum of 18 or a maximum of 26 innings to prove themselves.
"This will help selectors and coaches, who then don't have to rely on last season's performances," concluded Kulkarni, who coached the Ajit Agarkar-led Mumbai side to its 40th Ranji Trophy title in 2012-13.
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