Clean-up time for Mumbai cricket
Mumbai Cricket Association's Technical Committee recommends change of coach and selection committee after Ranji Trophy debacle
The Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) has reacted to the dismal show of its Ranji Trophy team this season by putting coach Sulakshan Kulkarni and the selection committee on the threshold of an exit.
The MCA’s Technical Committee which met yesterday wants Lalchand Rajput to take over as coach of the Mumbai team for the one-day and T20 tournaments. They also recommended a new selection committee which will select teams for the one-day and T20 tournaments this season, said MCA vice-president Ravi Savant in a press release.
These recommendations will now be ratified by the Managing Committee members, who will meet on January 24. Coach Kulkarni refused to react other than saying, “I have not received any communication in this regard from the MCA. My contract is till March. It clearly specifies that the contract will be valid till the last match of the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) tournament.”
Apparently, Kulkarni is yet to approve of certain terms in his contract and it is learnt that the coach was not happy with the remuneration offered by MCA.
Defending champions Mumbai lost to arch-rivals Maharashtra in the Ranji Trophy quarter-final despite taking a first innings lead at the Wankhede Stadium last week. Even Mumbai’s age-group teams failed to impress, making it a dismal season overall.
Rajput, who is also the India ‘A’ coach, said: “I have to ask the BCCI whether I can take up the coaching assignment. It is a stop-gap arrangement. If the BCCI allows me, I am ready to accept it.” The former India batsman is part of the Technical Committee along with Deepak Patil (Mumbai U-14 coach), Sanjay Patil (former spinner), Diana Eduljee (former India women’s captain) and umpire Vishwas Nerurkar.
Why no captain?
According to the MCA’s website, the Mumbai Ranji Trophy captain is also part of the Technical Committee. But skipper Zaheer Khan or interim leader Wasim Jaffer were not part of yesterday’s meeting. The Technical Committee meeting was expected to make drastic changes as reported by MiD DAY in its Wednesday edition.
A source said some members of the Technical Committee wanted to retain a few selectors, but ultimately agreed to unanimously replace the senior selection panel. “If some members of the selection panel were retained, then that would have created further doubts as to why only some selectors are sacked. So, it was unanimously decided to replace the whole committee,” the source informed.
The source also said the MCA was under pressure to take a decision. “A few members in the Technical Committee wanted to have a brainstorming session before arriving at a conclusion. But they were reminded that a lot of negative stories had been written in the media on a daily basis and hence it was important to take a decision. Discussions on how to improve our performance will happen over a period of time,” he said.