Not very long ago, beating Mumbai was considered a huge upset in the domestic fold. Their unparalleled record in premium competition Ranji Trophy pretty much proves that.
Mumbai side has won the coveted title for a record number of 41 times, a scarcely-believable 33 times more than second-placed Karnataka.
Moreover, they’ve produced more than 70 Test cricketers, with nine of them having led the country.
However, Mumbai’s reputation has taken a beating in the recent times.
In the last season, they exited the Ranji Trophy at quarterfinal stage after suffering an innings-defeat at the hands of quality-side Karnataka.
And Lalchand Rajput and Abhishek Nayar have an interesting take on Mumbai’s dwindling fortunes. Both of them feel that the rise of the cash-rich IPL is responsible for the 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,” Rajput said.
“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,” added Rajput.
The former Mumbai cricketer Rajput further recalled how teams used to be scared of the team in the past. He added the other teams were boosted by the emergence of the short-paced tournament like Indian Premier League (IPL).
“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,” said Rajput.
Nayar, the former Mumbai allrounder, also echoed Rajput’s sentiments.
“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,” he concluded.