Mumbai to continue with Samant as coach

After Sulakshan Kulkarni turned down the offer, stating that he wasn’t happy with a few clauses in the contract, the association decided to call up Samant and offer him a fresh contract.

Dhawal Kulkarni with coach Vinayak Samant during a practice session. (File Photo)   -  VIVEK BENDRE

The Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) has decided to continue with Vinayak Samant as the coach of Mumbai for one more season.

After Sulakshan Kulkarni - who was initially chosen as the suitable candidate by the Dilip Vengsarkar-led Cricket Advisory Committee - turned down the offer, stating that he wasn’t happy with a few clauses in the contract, the association decided to call up Samant and offer him a fresh contract.

Kulkarni claimed that he had issues with the remuneration amount offered to him which is much less than the original figure put up on the MCA website.

Last year, Mumbai won the Vijay Hazare Trophy under Samant’s coaching, but struggled in the Ranji Trophy, and also missed a spot in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.

Confirming the development, Samant said that his target will be to get the best out of the players.

“We don't have much time in hand, but since I have worked with the team, I know all the players and that's a positive,” Samant told Sportstar.

This year, the campaign starts next month, with the Vijay Hazare Trophy, which begins on September 24.

Samant, who has submitted all the documents - including a no conflict of interest declaration - to the MCA, plans to start training with the team from Tuesday.

“Most of the players were busy with Kanga League till Sunday, so we will start the preparation camp a day or two after that," Samant said.

The 46-year-old coach is aware of the fact that the team will be missing out on the services of Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer - who are busy with Indian team - for most of the season, and Prithvi Shaw will also not be available until his suspension for breaching anti-doping code, is lifted on November 15.

But even then, the coach is hopeful of getting the best out of the players. "We will play a preparatory tournament in the first week of September, and that will help us ahead of the long season," Samant said.

Mumbai had a forgettable outing last season, and this time around, Samant certainly has a tough job in hand.

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