A new season brings with it a new challenge. And like every other, Mumbai enter the Ranji Trophy with their eyes on the biggest prize in Indian cricket — the Ranji Trophy. Led by Aditya Tare and coached by Chandrakant Pandit, Mumbai don’t have the luxury of experience this time. The Tendulkars, Zaheers, Jaffers and Agarkars are no longer part of the squad. The average age of the side is 25. At 31, all-rounder Abhishek Nayar happens to be the oldest player.
Mumbai’s strength is definitely their batting. They have some promising batsmen in the squad who have the ability to score big runs. They may have lost a young and dynamic batsman like Sarfaraz Khan to Uttar Pradesh, but it hasn’t weakened them. With the likes of skipper Tare, Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer and Akhil Herwadkar in the mix, the department looks solid.
Mumbai’s lack of experience could cost them dear. Wasim Jaffer’s decision to move to Vidarbha as a pro could hit Mumbai hard. With 76 first-class appearances, Nayar is the most experienced player. Skipper tare has played 33 games. Even though they have a strong batting line-up with some exciting youngsters, the lack of a veteran may hurt them.
WATCH OUT FOR
There are quite a few young and exciting batsmen like Herwadkar, Iyer, Yadav and Siddhesh Lad. Herwadkar, a southpaw, is a delight to watch and loves to attack. Iyer gave a good account of himself last season. He even did well for the Delhi Daredevils in the IPL. The unorthodox Yadav can be dangerous, too. Lad is someone who can handle a crisis situation.
As far as the bowling is concerned, fast bowler Shardul Thakur, who was the joint highest wicket-taker alongside Karnataka captain R Vinay Kumar with 48 scalps last year, will be keen on continuing the good work. It will be a test for left-arm spinner Harmeet Singh, who has yet to deliver on his promise.
The Jaffer factor
Jaffer served Mumbai for nearly two decades. “It is obviously difficult to step into the big shoes of Wasim. What he has done for Mumbai is amazing. However, we have to move on. He missed quite a few games last season, too. So, we are almost up for it,” said Tare.
Gunning for glory
Mumbai are going through a transitional phase, but they have set their sights on a record-extending 41st title. “We have to follow a process and work towards it. Obviously, our aim is to win the Ranji Trophy. It is going to be a challenge,” he added.
Aditya Tare (C & WK), Akhil Herwadkar, Shrideep Mangela, Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Siddhesh Lad, Abhishek Nayar, Abhishek Raut, Nikhil Patil, Dhawal Kulkarni, Vishal Dabholkar, Balwinder Singh Sandhu Jr, Shardul Thakur, Badre Alam
Oct 1-4: Vs Andhra in Vizag
Oct 8-11: Vs Punjab in Mumbai
Oct 15-18: Vs Tamil Nadu in Mumbai
Oct 22-25: Vs Baroda in Baroda
Nov 7-10: Vs Uttar Pradesh in Mumbai
Nov 15-18: Vs Railways in Mumbai
Nov 23-26: Vs Madhya Pradesh in Indore
Dec 1-4: Vs Gujarat in Mumbai
Delhi to Haryana
Mumbai to Vidarbha
Hyderabad to Bengal
Delhi to Jammu & Kashmir
Rajasthan to Himachal Pradesh