Mumbai has been a dominant side in the history of Indian domestic cricket. They have a stellar record to boast of with 41 Ranji Trophy title wins. What more, they have given India 75 Test cricketers; out of which, 9 captained the country in international cricket.
However, in recent past, Mumbai’s reputation has suffered a lot and with Mumbai crashing out in the Ranji quarters last season, after suffering an innings-defeat at the hands of Karnataka, things have been reviewed.
Former Mumbai and India opener Lalchand Rajput and all-rounder Abhishek Nayar blamed the Indian Premier League for the decline of cricket in Mumbai. They were attending an event called ‘The Lions of Mumbai Cricket,’ held on Saturday evening at the MIG Cricket Club.
“Cricket is now a power game. Today, Mumbai’s youngsters think of playing in the IPL, rather than for Mumbai. This mindset is wrong, because first and foremost, you have to try and play for your state, and then for your country. The IPL will come automatically. However, this mindset has changed because of money. This is the reason why Mumbai cricket has slowly come down from the level it was at earlier,” lamented Rajput.
Rajput said: “In our days, they used to plead with us that ‘don’t make us field for two days.’ However, now the same teams are competing with us and beating us too. This means that they’ve started believing that anybody can beat Mumbai. The other teams have developed because of the National Cricket Academy (NCA) coaching and the IPL, where you play with bigger players.”
Agreeing with the senior Rajpur, Abhishek Nayar quipped: “The stage is set for people to get picked for India through the IPL. The times have changed. You realise that Mumbai cricketers like Siddhesh Lad and Shreyas Iyer repeatedly do well in the Ranji Trophy, but sometimes don’t get that call-up. However, as soon as a Rishabh Pant does well in the IPL, he gets an immediate call-up in the Indian team. So, the journey to get to the Indian team has changed.”
(With inputs from TimeofIndia.com)