Getting Mumbai “back on track in the red-ball format” is at the front of Amol Muzumdar‘s mind as he takes over as the team’s head coach ahead of the yet-to-be-announced domestic season. Mumbai, the 41-time Ranji Trophy champions, haven’t tasted red-ball success since beating Saurashtra in the 2015-16 final. In fact, they’ve only made the finals once since then.
“To get back on track as far as red-ball cricket is immediate priority because we haven’t won since 2015-16,” Muzumdar, a veteran of 171 first-class games, told ESPNcricinfo. “I think we’re in a good space as far as white-ball cricket goes. I’d like to impress upon the need to be multi-dimensional, it’s key for players at a personal level in today’s environment. So, these two areas are important.”
Muzumdar’s appointment was made official on Friday after the Mumbai Cricket Association’s Cricket Advisory Committee, comprising former players Jatin Paranjape, Nilesh Kulkarni and Vinod Kambli, conducted a series of interviews over the past week. A new coach had to be named after the position was laying vacant following Ramesh Powar’s appointment as head coach of the India women’s team.
Under Powar, Mumbai won India’s most-recent domestic tournament, the Vijay Hazare Trophy, where they beat Uttar Pradesh in a high-scoring final. Powar himself was a late appointment after the MCA decided to not extend Vinayak Samant’s contract.
Wasim Jaffer and Sairaj Bahutule, Muzumdar’s former Mumbai team-mates, Sulakshan Kulkarni, Balwinder Singh Sandhu, Pradeep Sunderram, Nandan Phadnis, Umesh Patwal and Vinod Raghvan were among the contenders for the job.
“I threw my hat into the ring purely on instincts,” Muzumdar said. “I think this is as good a time as any, when there’s a great blend of highly-skilled youngsters and experienced players there to guide them. We say Mumbai’s talent pool isn’t quite the same as yesteryears, but we’ve still got as many as seven players in the Indian team, which is still phenomenal. So, to work with this bunch is going to be quite exciting.”
Muzumdar has spent the last three years as a batting consultant with the Rajasthan Royals in the IPL. He’s currently head of their training and development wing at their academy in Nagpur. In 2019, Muzumdar also had a stint with South Africa as their batting coach for the Test series in India. Apart from that, Muzumdar has been an active commentator in the domestic circuit since his retirement in 2014.
Muzumdar says being already familiar with the role of a mentor during the fag end of his playing career helped him tune up. “For about four or five years, towards the end of my career, I played the role of a player-cum-coach both at Andhra and Assam. Even when I went over to the Netherlands, it was a similar role. So, in terms of approach, it’s something I’m tuned to.
“The difference, though, is during those stints, you’re still in control of situations as a player-cum-mentor. Whereas as head coach, you don’t have that control of things in the middle, Even if you may have an indirect control, that touch is missing. But it’s the about the experience and the excitement of working with a great bunch of players that I’m most looking forward to.”
Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo
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