No smile, no eye contact with the opposition, but a stern grip to make your challenger not like you— that is what khadoos attitude of Mumbai cricket means.
It has been only a month since Vinayak Samant, 45, has been appointed as the coach of the Mumbai domestic team, and the former wicket-keeper already has a plan that involves bringing back the khadoos attitude of Mumbai cricket.
It was something that was missing last year or was observable at some instances. For example, the last season, when Siddhesh Lad and Suryakumar Yadav took the crease against Baroda for Mumbai’s 500th Ranji match. Just the way how Sachin Tendulkar would partner with different batsmen, Lad saved the historic fixture for the city with the same grit. He played 238 balls and scored 71 runs on the last day of the match. Yadav played a similar knock of 44 runs from 132 balls.
Samant is making an effort to inspire this approach all over again. “I was not the most talented player in my days, but I had the attitude which is why I played so many matches for Mumbai. I want to get the same attitude in these guys,” he says.
Not just Baroda, the team tailed off against formidable oppositions especially when it came to bowling. The pair of Dhawal Kulkarni and Shardul Thakur was available for limited number of games and even when they played together, there was nothing special in the bowling department.
Not that you have to rely on just two bowlers since anyone can get a call up for the senior team or pick up an injury. Samant wants to develop the young talents instead of relying on one or two players, since there a vast pool of talent here. “I’m focusing on a strategy with bowlers to develop them individually. I don’t want their journey to end here,” he says.
“Similarly, for the batsmen, I see great potential in Yashasvi (Jaiswal), Akash (Parkar) and other youngsters. Like Rohit Sharma, and Ajinkya Rahane, even they should go on and play for India is what I want,” further adds Samant.
His first match as the coach will be at the Vizzy Trophy that starts from August 30. A younger squad with skipper, Aditya Tare is not in the squad. Even the pair of Lad and Yadav is playing other domestic tournaments.
Also, this year the season will starts with one-dayers instead of the traditional Ranji Trophy followed by one-days and then T20s. Also, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has added Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Sikkim, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Pondicherry to the domestic circuit. They will play in Ranji and other domestic tournaments for the first time ever.
With this change, there will be more matches and more opportunities for the youngsters. “It will be good for the young players to get more games,” says Samant.
Samant is keeping short training sessions since he is a believer of “quality over quantity”. He wants to go by the methods of his coaching days as the Under-23 Mumbai coach. He did win the CK Nayudu Trophy as coach then. All the enthusiasts of Mumbai cricket want to see him emulate the same heroics here.