Three candidates shortlisted for Mumbai coach

Sairaj Bahutule, Sulakshan Kulkarni and Vinayak Samant will be interviewed on Monday for the post of senior team coach.

Sairaj Bahutule, the multiple Ranji Trophy champion with Mumbai, who had a mediocre two-year stint with Bengal as coach, is one of the prime contenders of the post of Mumbai's senior team coach.   -  The Hindu Photo Library

Confusion over eligibility of the Cricket Improvement Committee (CIC) chairman and faux pas while announcing various selection panels notwithstanding, the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) is set to conduct interviews for coaches of MCA teams for the 2019-20 season.

Three candidates — Sairaj Bahutule, Sulakshan Kulkarni and Vinayak Samant — will be interviewed on Monday for the post of senior team coach.

Samant had a forgettable maiden outing as the senior coach, despite starting off with Mumbai regaining the Vijay Hazare Trophy. However, the Ranji Trophy turned out to be a disaster, with Samant appearing to have lost the confidence of senior players and the team didn’t recover during the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy as well.

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Sportstar understands that Bahutule, the multiple Ranji Trophy champion with Mumbai, who had a mediocre two-year stint with Bengal as coach, and Kulkarni are the prime contenders.

Kulkarni, after coaching Mumbai for three seasons starting 2011-12, was also in charge of Chhattisgarh’s maiden Ranji season in 2016-17. Both Bahutule and Kulkarni are understood to have the backing of people who matter in the realms of MCA.

Meanwhile, the two-member CIC received a boost with the addition of Karsan Ghavri. The former Mumbai and Saurashtra stalwart — who had resigned from the CIC in January — has been re-inducted into the CIC.

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Ghavri told Sportstar on Saturday he “is looking forward to conducting the interviews”.

The fact that the two-member CIC — with chairman Dilip Vengsarkar and Kiran Mokashi — has been expanded notwithstanding, it cannot be ignored that the Mumbai coach will be decided by a committee that consists of a chairman whose eligibility has been questioned and two members who have resigned once in the recent past.

Vengsarkar — having served as MCA vice-president with distinction for 10 years — resigned in 2017 following adoption of the Lodha Committee reforms. His appointment as CIC chairman is still under scrutiny.