By Nadim Memon | Opening Doorz Editorial | January 11, 2019

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Here is a report card of the Mumbai teams’ ‘performance’ from the qualifying round to the knockouts in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) U-16 and U-19 State Level and Ranji Trophy tournaments

  • The Mumbai U-16 team was knocked out from BCCI play-off matches losing to Uttar Pradesh (UP).
  • The U-19 team who are struggling to qualify are on the 6th position of BCCI league.
  • The U-23 team are doing better this time, being placed 2nd in the BCCI league.
  • The Mumbai Ranji Trophy team crashed to a humiliating innings-and-145-run defeat against Vidarbha.

Now this is Mumbai cricket’s performance this year (2018-19).

The reason for this dismal show is because the officials and selectors and so-called thinkers of the game are no longer on the ‘ground level’.

We need a good administration for BKC Cricket Academy in Mumbai, an Academy where there is no interference by the office-bearers. Former Mumbai player and coach Chandrakant Pandit, who now coaches Vidarbha was scathing in his attack of the mess Mumbai cricket is in. “Former MCA Vice President Vinod Deshpande is responsible for the mess in the Mumbai team along with those who supported him,” Pandit was recently quoted as saying after Mumbai  crashed to a humiliating innings-and-145-run defeat against Vidarbha in Nagpur. Dilip Vengsarkar was of the same view. There is a lot of involvement shown by officials with vested interests on selecting coaches, coaching and sundry staff.

Nowadays, officials appoint themselves, their children and their family members as managers and get good money as allowances. Those who support the group they come from are rewarded with plum positions and areas where they can make money so that they keep their mouth shut!

Cricketers are saying that they perform the entire year in Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) conducted tournaments and local tournament but nobody is present at the matches to see their performance.

No seniors, no selectors have come to watch local tournaments since the last two years!

It is interesting to note that selectors have no time to watch local matches because they have their own commitment and they are doing BCCI TV commercials. Some are even involved in business in Delhi while some are posted out of Mumbai for their office jobs.

This is in clear violation of the spirit of the game and is in ‘conflict of interest’.

During the start of this year’s season, the cream of talent from Mumbai were not even considered in the top 30. Who were the players who made it to the top 30 with no cricketing credentials or even half the talent as the boys who were left out? All the players have complained to their club secretaries and 38 clubs dashed off a No Confidence Motion letter to the MCA against the selectors and requested the MCA to call an urgent Special AGM to take action. This was at the start of the season.

If the MCA had taken action on the basis of the letter sent by 38 Clubs, today the Mumbai teams would have been in a better position.

It was a surprise to note that the top run-scorers and highest wickets-takers of Mumbai were not even considered. These very boys went on to play for other states. Why?

Boys who have completed 27 years become ineligible to play for Mumbai. Why?

Guess what the logic of the selectors is? They say he (a 27-year-old) is not going to play India so we don’t need him!

Padmakar Shivalkar, Eknath Solkar, Ashok Mankad, Ajit Wadekar, Dilip Sardesai, Polly Umrigar, Amol Mazumdar, Samir Dighe, Wasim Jaffar and many other players played for Mumbai till the age of 40. Shivalkar came back at the age of 50 to play for Bombay!

The current Ranji Trophy team is looking very ordinary; worse than a local club.

The Cricket Improvement Committee (CIC) appointed by MCA office-bearers are the ones responsible for appointing coaches, their support staff, selectors etc.

It is simple commonsense for anyone who understands cricket and is running the administration that one cannot spring up a completely new team. Youngsters have to be included with a balance of seniors in the team who will guide them.

Now the question is; who is responsible for the bad performance?

The MCA officials or selectors?

(Nadim Memon is a man of the maidans. He is a curator, a sports lover, a cricketer, a footballer and more, importantly a fierce protector of maidans for the younger generation!)

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