|Photos||Video & Audio||Blogs||Statistics||Archive||Shop||Mobile|
August 27, 2005
The Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) has finally put an end to the speculation surrounding transfer of players to their state by selecting Sairaj Bahutule, the former Indian legspinner, Nilesh Kulkarni, the former Indian left-arm spinner, and Munaf Patel, the Mumbai fast bowler, for the forthcoming season.
Ajay Shirke, the president of the MCA, sanctioned the move while Pandurang Salgaonkar, the chairman of the selection committee, added that the rest of the team would be probably picked by the first week of September.
The signing of these three players is part of Maharashtra's revamp process as they gear up for the new season. Darren Holder, an Australian coach, was recently appointed as the Maharashtra Cricket Association's (MCA) cricket director and Chandrakant Pandit, the former Indian wicketkeeper and Ranji Trophy-winning Mumbai coach, was named as the coach.
The departure of these three players leaves a gaping void in the Mumbai bowling line-up, which was until recently the most varied attack in the country. Bahutule was a colossal presence both as their captain and strike bowler and led them to the Ranji Trophy in 2003-04, a season where he also finished as the highest wicket-taker in all first-class competetions. He also made valuable contributions with the bat lower down the order and his brand of captaincy, unassuming but efficient, helped galvanise the team. However friction with the establishment and a greater monetary allure probably prompted his decision to end a 15-year career with Mumbai and move on to neighbouring Maharashtra.
Though not as beguiling as Bahutule, Kulkarni played a crucial role with his left-arm spin delivered from a considerable height. The bounce that he extracted often undid batsmen and he was an asset on batsmen-friendly pitches, when he bowled marathon spells without conceding too many runs.
Munaf impressed in his 13 first-class matches so far, before he was blighted by injuries, and his extra pace was a huge boost to an already varied attack. But on his return from injury he will be bowling for a new team, which, considering the massive off-season revamp, might just turn out to be a dark horse in this year's Ranji Trophy.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The serene team culture cultivated by Misbah and his men shouldn't be allowed to be disrupted by a player with a tainted past
In 2011, MS Dhoni helped end a 28-year wait for India and gifted Sachin Tendulkar something he had craved throughout his career - to be called a World Cup champion
Coloured clothes, black sightscreens, two white balls: the game of cricket looked so different in 1992. But writing about it now seems more fun than watching it then
Never mind cricket's absence from free-to-air TV - changes in social attitudes, the demands of work, and an individualistic age are all contributing to a decline in participation
Pakistan have notched up some fine wins under Misbah-ul-Haq's leadership, but they haven't yet achieved consistent results outside the UAE
Going out to play cricket today would have been near enough to impossible. Even doing so next week in the nets and at the Gabba for the first Test will be difficult