Muzumdar: ‘You ignore Ranji at your own peril’

Amol Muzumdar, who was unlucky not to have played for India, is of the view that it is impossible to take the sport forward without the Ranji Trophy.

Muzumdar, who retired from active cricket three years ago, is of the view that it is impossible to take the sport forward without the Ranji Trophy.   -  M. Karunakaran

If we were to draw up a list of cricketers who failed to play for India despite being consistent throughout their domestic career, Amol Muzumdar would be on top of it. The former Mumbai cricketer amassed 11,167 runs in 171 first-class matches in a career that spanned over two decades. Muzumdar, who later in his career, played for Assam and Andhra Pradesh, is the second-highest scorer in the Ranji Trophy with 9,202 runs.

Muzumdar, who retired from active cricket three years ago, is of the view that it is impossible to take the sport forward without the Ranji Trophy.

“I think Ranji Trophy is the lifeline of Indian cricket. If you ignore it, you do so at your own peril,” says Muzumdar.

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He says that even in the times of Twenty20 cricket, the longer format of the game cannot be done away with. “You want to give credit or you don’t, it’s entirely up to the cricketers. But if you ignore Ranji Trophy, you would go downhill.”

Muzumdar is also happy with the way the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has financially steadied the domestic players. “I am happy with the fact that the BCCI is ultimately looking after the Ranji cricketers. There are some incentives. So, there is something to look forward to for this generation of cricketers. Even then if they complain, then God help them,” says Muzumdar, who now plays twin roles — as coach and commentator.

“Coaching is something dear to me. It keeps me alive. I love to be on the ground. I have been doing commentary for the last couple of years, I like that as well. But then, being on the ground really attracts me,” says the 42-year-old cricketer.

While he is of the view that time is still not right for him to take up coaching of a state side, Muzumdar has worked a bit with the India U-19 squad at the National Cricket Academy. A month ago, he was with India U-23, helping the team with batting. He has also lent support to foreign teams such as South Africa ‘A’ and Canterbury Cricket Club on their tours to India.

That’s how life is for Muzumdar these days!

Ranji performance —Matches:136; Runs: 9202; Highest score: 260; Average: 51.40

By Shayan Acharya

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