Jadeja and Bahutule for Maharashtra?
Ajay Jadeja and Sairaj Bahutule are high on Maharashtra's shopping list as the side, after appointing Darren Holder as their coach, began to scout for stars from out of town. Both Jadeja and Bahutule captained their respective state sides - Delhi and Mumbai - in last season's domestic competitions but the duo might just be part of Maharashtra's plans to revive their flagging fortunes.
The management committee of the Maharashtra Cricket Association has authorised a Rupees 1 million salary for Jadeja to play the next season for them as captain, a source told Cricinfo. Jadeja, who returned to first-class cricket last season after serving a three-year ban for involvement in matchfixing, had a good return last year with 452 runs in seven games, including two hundreds and two fifties.
"It's not possible to make an official comment at the moment because the selection committee has not met yet," the same source revealed. "But the management committee has given the go-ahead to recruit three cricketers from outside the state to play as professional cricketers." Maharashtra has managed to rope in sponsors for their Ranji team, and felt it best to spend the money on cricketers' salaries.
Maharashtra were promoted to the Elite Group last year, after they clinched the Plate Championship in 2003, but they struggled throughout the year and just managed to avoid relegation.
When Bahutule, who is currently back in Mumbai briefly on a break from playing league cricket in England for the birth of his daughter, was contacted he refused to confirm or deny the move. "I would not like to make any comment on this," he said. Bahutule has contributed tremendously to the Mumbai side with both bat and ball and been an integral part of a team that won two successive Ranji Trophy championships in 2003 and 2004.
Anand Vasu is assistant editor of Cricinfo