Amol Muzumdar still wears a white sun hat of the Mumbai Ranji Trophy team, but he has covered the logo with leucoplast. The new Assam captain smiles when it is pointed out to him. The explanation comes when he talks about how difficult it was to leave Mumbai after being excluded from their squad for a pre-season tournament.
“It was difficult. I had been a part of the Mumbai dressing room for 16 years (since 1993-94) and felt proud to have represented the team. I still feel proud of that. I guess till I die, I will remain a Mumbai player,” Muzumdar said after leading Assam to an easy win over Bengal in the East Zone leg of the national T20 tournament.
Asked why he chose Assam, Muzumdar said it was a well thought-out decision. “After I decided to shift I did a little bit of a recce. I wanted to be with a team that had some good youngsters. I have been part of the country’s nursery of cricket in Mumbai. I wanted that to rub off on them,” said Muzumdar, who looks younger than his 34 years.
“Till now, the 20 or so boys I have seen in Assam, they have been fantastic,” said Muzumdar, who also described the state of cricket in the northeastern state as a “pleasant surprise”. “Playing in Mumbai, sometimes you are not aware of what is going on elsewhere.”
The shift from Mumbai, however, would not have been possible without the family. “I have a lovely wife who understands me. Without her support and my father’s I would have left cricket,” said Muzumdar. He is set to miss his daughter’s third birthday on October 23. “I will fly back after this tournament is over (on the 24th).”
No discussion with Muzumdar is probably over without a mention of the missing India cap. After all, the right-hand middle-order batsman has scored 9558 first class runs and is on the verge of becoming the highest run-getter in the Ranji Trophy.
“I will be lying if I said it did not hurt that all the runs I scored were ignored. I cannot figure out how I never got a chance, never even made it to a national camp,” said the man who went to the same school as Sachin Tendulkar, played with Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly for India U-19 and has never really stopped scoring runs since making 260 on his first-class debut for Mumbai against Saurashtra in the Ranji Trophy quarterfinals.