Few state sides would boast of the kind of record Mumbai posses in domestic cricket. They’ve won the Ranji Trophy as many as 41 times. Their contribution to Indian cricket is reflected by the fact that they’ve produced 75-odd Test cricketers, with nine of them having led the country.
However, this massive reputation has suffered a dent in the recent past, with Mumbai crashing out in the Ranji quarters last season, after suffering an innings-defeat at the hands of Karnataka. At an event aptly titled ‘The Lions of Mumbai Cricket,’ held on Saturday evening at the MIG Cricket Club, former India coach Lalchand Rajput and all-rounder Abhishek Nayar blamed the rise of the cash-rich IPL for this decline in Mumbai cricket’s standards.
“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.
Citing the example of other domestic teams like Gujarat and Saurashtra, 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.”