Going by its phenomenal past record, Mumbai is expected to not just reach the final of the Ranji Trophy each year but also win it. After all, out of the 77 seasons played till date, Mumbai have won 39 of the 43 finals they have played.
The high expectations can be a disadvantage at times.
“We are expected to win Ranji all the time, but one must realise that all the teams are there to win. Being realistic, reaching the semifinal was a good achievement with the team we had,” said Mumbai skipper Wasim Jaffer.
“We have a young team and the boys have shown promise. Of course, we are disappointed with the loss, but we beat some really good teams on way to the final, like Uttar Pradesh, Railways and Madhya Pradesh. And we came close to winning the semifinal too.”
Jaffer said that during a recent match, a senior umpire told him that he hardly recognised any of the young guys. “We need to give time and show faith in the youngsters. The selectors need to realise that we need to build the team, which takes time,” said the highest run-getter in Ranji Trophy.
Is the glorious past a burden for the current team?
“We can use the history as a stepping stone. But there is no point living in the past. We need to look to the future,” said the 33-year-old.
There have also been reports of a rift between players. However, Jaffer denied the allegations. “There is no rift in the team. Neither has there been any kind of lack of communication. Every decision was taken together; there was unanimity in team selection. This talk about a rift is news to me,” he added.
However, Jaffer did agree that the Agarkar episode had affected the team. “Yes, the Agarkar incident affected the team, but the decisions were made by the people at the top. It could have been handled in a better way but the whole incident was unfortunate.”
Analysing the strength of the team, the skipper said: “We need bowlers who can regularly bowl at 130 kph-plus. I do not know how we will find them but it is a concern. The spinners did well but were not consistent. Iqbal (Abdulla) is struggling. The wicketkeeper-batsman’s position is also a concern.”