40 - is the number of times Mumbai have lifted the coveted Ranji Trophy. The magnitude of the side’s domination on the domestic circuit reflects in that number alone. Having reached the final 44 times since the inception of the multi-day tournament way back in 1934-35, Mumbai will embark on the 2014-15 season with a young captain, Suryakumar Yadav.
The middle-order batsman got off on the right foot with winning the Ramakant Desai Trophy (West Zone’s inter-state one-day league) and is keen to begin the new chapter under the guidance of former Mumbai stalwart, Pravin Amre. (Also Read: Fixtures & Results: Ranji Trophy 2014-15)
While speaking to BCCI.TV ahead of the tournament, Yadav talked about the pride that a young player feels while representing Mumbai and the responsibility that comes with donning the cap.
Excerpts from the interview:
Wearing the Mumbai cap – a matter of pride
Playing for Mumbai is a thing of pride for us. There are a lot of youngsters in our side and they have been working really hard to earn that cap.
The pressures of leading Mumbai
There is pressure leading Mumbai because people who have led the side have been legends, like Ajit Wadekar, Ravi Shastri, Amol Muzumdar, Sachin Tendulkar and Wasim Jaffer who is still playing with me and many others. There is obviously going to be pressure while trying to fill in their shoes. I am going to enjoy that pressure on the ground because this is right time for me to show my skills and ability on the field.
Leading India Under 23 was good (experience) for my preparation. Leading a Ranji Trophy side is a big responsibility. Leading the Mumbai team in first-class cricket is a big thing. Selectors have shown faith in me and given me the captaincy. I had a good run in the (inter-state) one-dayers and the coach and players backed me. We have been gelling well together and have a good understanding. Most of the players are the same since the last one-day tournament so I think it will help us.
On the youngsters
Having youngsters in the side is a good sign for any team. There are a few new faces in the side as well but it is going to take time to adjust. If you are looking ahead for the next three-four years to do well on the ground then you have to back a few youngsters.
We are already in the process of rebuilding a side for the four-day game. Wasim Jaffer and Abhishek Nayar have been giving their inputs as well so that has helped.
A line-up without Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma
I don’t have words to express their loss for the Mumbai side. Filling in their shoes (will be a challenge). We have a few youngsters in the side who are trying, but we will see on the ground. I can’t say now who will perform and who is going to fill in their shoes. But everyone is working really hard to get there.
Strengths of the team
Strength of Mumbai has always been all-round. But seeing my team, bowling is currently stronger than batting.
Coach- Pravin Amre
He has been really wonderful. He was with each and everyone during the probables camp where there were around 30 players. He would take two-three of them at a time and has worked really hard with us.
He has backed each and every player. He is having one-on-one sessions with them almost everyday.
He tells everyone to go and just enjoy. We also have Omkar Salvi (Railways pacer) as the bowling and fielding coach. He is doing a great job for Mumbai.