Ranji trophy: Mumbai desperate for win against Railways

The disappointment of not playing their next game at their preferred venue — the lively Sharad Pawar Gymkhana in BKC – was palpable in the Mumbai camp on the eve of their sixth round Ranji Trophy encounter against Railways beginning at the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday.


Although the team management didn’t express it in as many words, one could sense that the hosts, who are eager for an outright win, weren’t really happy to be back playing at Wankhede.

After a high-scoring draw between Mumbai and Uttar Pradesh where close to 1,200 runs were scored in four days, the home team had suggested shifting their game against Railways to BKC. The Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) agreed to the demand. But two days prior to the game, the BCCI asked MCA to abort their plans of shifting the venue.

Mumbai coach Chandrakant Pandit chose not to dwell too much into the controversy on Saturday, he neither was he too excited about the idea of playing at the Wankhede.

Asked about the wicket, Pandit said: “I don’t have an idea about the wicket so far. We will see how to exploit the wicket and use whatever wicket we get.”

Pandit straight-batted queries regarding the shifting of the venue.

“I don’t want to comment on that issue. The team expects to take whatever decision our state association has taken.”

A master strategist in domestic cricket, the former India cricketer said he wasn’t a “good reader of the wicket”.

“After getting 600 runs in the last match, we thought we will get the result, which unfortunately we did not. Maybe I am not a very good reader of pitch or conditions,” Pandit said.

Back to the game, table-toppers Mumbai will enter as favourites against Mahesh Rawat-led Railways and will eye an outright win to seal their place in the last eight stage of the tournament.

The Aditya Tare-led outfit suffered a jolt as senior pro Abhishek Nayar, who went under the knife, will miss the game due to an ankle injury. He has been replaced by off-spinning all-rounder Ankush Jaiswal in the squad. Also, promising opener Jay Bista is all set to make his Ranji debut, replacing Rohit Sharma.

On the other hand, Railways, who have lost five matches in six games, have made five major changes to their squad.