He has coached Tripura in the Ranji Trophy. As a batting coach at the BCCI Specialist Academy, he has also honed the skills of a plethora of junior cricketers. But ever since retiring from the game over a decade ago, never has Sameer Dighe been under the scanner as much he would be over the next three months.
Such is the pressure of being the Mumbai coach that Dighe knows the only expectation from him would be for his wards to lay their hands on the coveted trophy come January 2.
More than the “pressures”, the man himself looks at the assignment as an “opportunity”. “It is a great opportunity for me. It is a new role, a challenge. The culture in Mumbai cricket is such that only the Ranji Trophy title will do,” Dighe said on Tuesday, a day before Mumbai's departure to Indore for its season-opener against Madhya Pradesh.
Having been a staunch Mumbaikar during his 12-season stint with the most successful outfit in domestic cricket, Dighe has had run-ins with various coaches. But having switched over to the other side, the former Mumbai captain and India wicket-keeper realises that more than earning acceptance from each member of the change-room, the key for him is to get results on the field.
“Fifteen players will never say I like this guy. Whatever drawbacks are there, we should forget it, focus on the plus points and just get on with it. Winning matters. Irrespective of how good you or I are as human beings, you have to deliver on the field,” he said.
Dighe also stressed that he would let captain Aditya Tare call the shots rather than imposing his opinions. “I had a good chat with Tare. I told him you have had a different process (for) three years, I don't want to change (that). It is always better to do one on ones with players whenever required. Eventually Tare is going to handle things in the middle, he is the boss,” he said. “I will give observations and inputs, It is up to you to decide on the ground. There's nothing hard and fast that you have to follow.”
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Dighe will thus be the fourth Mumbai coach in five seasons. But rather than worrying about it, Dighe is focussed on the job at hand. He has set the targets of building a strong bench-strength, which will bode well for Mumbai cricket in the coming years.
“It is important how you are going to develop your players. You have to assess bench strength, how you are going to look at the team four-five years later. It had already started, we are trying to continue with it,” Dighe concluded.
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