Mumbai have had a phenomenal record in the Ranji Trophy, having won the tournament 41 times and have produced around 75 Test cricketers out of which 9 have led India. However, in the recent past, Mumbai cricket has been going through a few turbulences. They recently crashed out in the quarter-final stage of the tournament — by an innings — at the hands of Karnataka. Former India coach Lalchand Rajput and veteran Mumbai cricketer Abhishek Nayar at an event in Mumbai have blamed the Indian Premier League (IPL) for the decline in the standard of cricket in Mumbai.
“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,” Rajput said, according to Cricbuzz.
Rajput also cited examples of Gujarat and Saurashtra, when during his days, the players used to plead with Mumbai not to make them field for more than 2 days. But now Rajput feels that all teams think they can beat Mumbai. “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.”
Adding to what Rajput’s opinion, Nayar said, “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.”