Mumbai: When they thrashed Saurashtra by an innings in February 2016 to clinch their 41st title,few would’ve thought that Mumbai would fail to win the Ranji Trophy for the next four seasons.It’s the worst run they have endured since the period between 1984-85 to 1993-
94, when they failed to win a single Ranji title.
The current streak has seen Mumbai crash out in the league stage itself for the second time in a row. After seven games, they have just 14 points— a haul which includes just one outright win. Languishing in 14th spot in the combined A & B group, they round off an-other disappointing season
when they take on Madhya Pradesh in their ninth and last round match at the Wankhede.
The visitors, like Mumbai, are out of contention, placed at a lowly 16th spot with just 11
points in seven games.On the eve of a game which is, therefore, now meaningless, Mumbai skipper Aditya Tare had an interesting suggestion for the BCCI: Introduce batting
and bowling points in Ranji. Tare felt that qualifying for the Ranji Trophy knockouts is now
slightly tougher from A & B groups — only the top five out of 18 go to the quarterfinals. Two teams go through from Group C, which includes 10 sides, and one from the plate group, compris-
ing all the new teams from the northeast — Bihar, Uttarakhand and Puducherry.
“That needs to be looked into and one thing that Indian cricket should do is to look at the points system. Have batting and bowling points, something that county cricket in the UK has,”Tare, the last man to lead Mumbai to a Ranji Trophy tri-umph (in the 2015-16 season) said, while explaining the rationale behind his suggestion.
“Even if there’s no outright result, there are still a lot of points to grab. That’ll keep the contest interesting and every team will have a lot to look forward to, especially since with neutral curators, you don’t know what’s in store.
“Sometimes you want a result-oriented pitch and you get a flat pitch. You cannot fight for six points on placid pitches, so fighting for bowling and batting points is something that can be looked into. Obviously five out of 18 is a pretty tough call, actually.”
An example of where Mumbai could have at least gained a few batting points is the match against Himachal Pradesh at Dharamsala, where,
riding on Sarfaraz Khan’s unbeaten double hundred, they scored 372 for five in 75 overs
on Day One, before the entire match was washed out, forcing them to remain content with just one point.
“It’s a difficult format anyway. If you lose two games in a season, you’re suddenly catching up on the points table. There are 18 teams, out of which only five will play the knockouts. If
you lag behind in the first four games, you have a lot of catching up to do. For that, you need
a lot of results to go your way. That didn’t happen. The two home games that we lost put us on the backfoot,” Tare said.
Bista left out Meanwhile, out of form opener Jay Bista has been dropped, and pacer Tuscan Deshpande
was ruled out of the last game
due to injury. The team: Aditya
Tare (C), Shams Mulani, Shashank
Attarde, Hardik Tamore, Aakrshit
Gomel, Suryakumar Yadav,
Deepak Shetty, Aquib Kureshi,
Ankush Jaiswal, Royston Dias,
Akash Parkar, Bhupen Lalwani,
Sarfaraz Khan, Siddhesh Lad.