What went wrong with Mumbai in Ranji Trophy?
Did these factors contribute in a big way to Mumbai being knocked out of the 2013-14 Ranji Trophy? Maybe, maybe not. But here are the facts ¦
Rahane & Rohit’s absence
Batting stars Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma not being available for the quarter-final against Maharashtra since they are part of India’s squad for the New Zealand tour.
Dhaval Kulkarni, one of the star performers in the last Ranji Trophy final against Saurashtra, was sorely missed by Mumbai in the absence of any frontline pacers apart from Zaheer Khan. The lanky pacer missed the entire season due to injury after the Ranji opener against Haryana at Lahli.
Change in captaincy
After the match against Jharkhand, there was talk on the eve of the selection meeting that Abhishek Nayar would be dropped for the next game against Odisha. After the meeting, it was announced that Nayar was injured and Wasim Jaffer would lead.
Jaffer under pressure
Jaffer gave up the captaincy last season to concentrate on his batting. Getting the captaincy back may not have put Jaffer, the main batsman, in a comfortable position. The fact is Jaffer was given the stop-gap job which he had earlier spurned.
Pawar persisted with
Kaustub Pawar had a lean season. He scored 244 in seven games and was still persisted with by the selectors. Some level of tolerance this.
Siddhesh Lad , who made a promising start to his first-class career with a 74 and 85 against Delhi in only his second match, got injured before Mumbai’s last league game against Gujarat at Valsad. He was ruled out for three weeks after injuring his back while playing football during a warm-up session.
Too many changes
The selectors did not showed any consistency, chopping players. As many as four players were dropped after just one or two matches. While pacer Akbar Khan was left out after a couple of matches in which he claimed three wickets, other medium-pacers Kshemal Waingankar, Balwinder Singh Sandhu Jr and Saurabh Netravalkar were never considered again in the playing XI after just one outing.
Nayar, the star performer in Mumbai’s 40th Ranji Trophy triumph last year, was a complete let-down this time. In six matches, he managed to score only 205 with only one half-century.
Chief selector resigns
It came as a shocker after chairman of senior selection committee chief Sudhir Naik resigned from the post midway of the Ranji season to accept the role of ground consultant for the Wankhede Stadium and the Sachin Tendulkar Gymkhana at Kandivli. It may have resulted in the change of plans and rethinking by the new committee. Earlier in the season Sandeep Patil resigned as chairman of selectors.
No home advantage
Mumbai had a horrendous record at home this season as they managed to take only one outright win (against Vidarbha) and a first innings lead (against Odisha) in their four matches on home ground. In fact, the defending champions had a good record away from home, managing three outright wins in four league matches.