Ranji Trophy 2013-14 January 16, 2014

Sulakshan Kulkarni likely to be sacked as Mumbai coach


The Mumbai Cricket Association is set to sack Sulakshan Kulkarni as coach of the senior team, after the side's quarter-final exit from the Ranji Trophy last week. The MCA technical committee has recommended Lalchand Rajput's appointment as coach for the rest of the 2013-14 season, which includes the West Zone one-dayers for the Ramakant Desai Trophy and the Syed Mushtaq Ali Twenty20 tournament.

Mumbai, who were defending champions this season, lost to Maharashtra by eight wickets in the quarterfinal, in spite of a 122-run lead.

When asked for a reaction, Kulkarni told ESPNcricinfo: "I have not heard anything from MCA so far. I can comment on it only after someone from the MCA officially informs me."

Rajput, who is the coach at the BCCI's batting academy in Mumbai and is in charge of the India A squad, said he will seek the board's permission before committing to the position.

"I have been offered the position," Rajput said. "I have told MCA that even though I respect their decision, I can accept it only after I get a clearance from the BCCI. I will now request the BCCI to release me for the limited-overs' leg."

Rajput, the former Mumbai and India opener, coached Mumbai in 2001-02 when the team exited in the pre-quarterfinal round of the Ranji Trophy. He was then in charge of the India U-19 team for a couple of years before being appointed cricket manager and assistant coach of India's senior team during the transition period between Greg Chappell and Gary Kirsten. In 2008-09, he was offered the post of national junior selection committee chairman, but he declined saying he wanted to continue as the coach.

The MCA managing committee will meet on January 24 to ratify Rajput's appointment, provided he gets a BCCI go-ahead. The technical committee, which replaced the association's cricket improvement committee earlier this season, has also recommended a selection committee overhaul before the limited-overs leg of the domestic season.

Kulkarni replaced Pravin Amre as the coach at the start of the 2011-12 season. In his three seasons as coach, Mumbai were eliminated in the semi-finals in 2011-12, won the championship last season and were defeated in the quarter-finals by neighbouring rivals, Maharashtra. However, the former wicketkeeper-batsman's tenure was controversial due to his spat with Ajit Agarkar and Ramesh Powar in his opening season.

Agarkar left the team in Cuttack on the morning of a Ranji game in 2011-12 alleging he was unfairly treated. Zaheer Khan had also backed Agarkar during the crisis. Even though Agarkar and Kulkarni patched up and the former even led the team to its 40th Ranji title last season, the squad appeared to be divided in multiple groups over the last three years. Before the start of the 2013-14 season, offspinner Ramesh Powar, who had been dropped the previous season and didn't share a good rapport with Kulkarni and Wasim Jaffer, moved to Rajasthan as a professional.

Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on January 21, 2014, 10:42 GMT

    Mumbai is in the re-building stage and the focus needs to be on matters cricket rather than relationships on and off the field. Anyone selected to represent Mumbai needs to be mentored to move to the next stage, rather than on - field help. BCCI and MCA must use Venkatesh Prasad, Kumble and Srinath's expertise in this matter. The way they have helped Karnataka team gain self confidence and build around a core over the last six years is fantastic.One wonders if Rajput has this capability. Bringing one of the three as a team mentor will benefit Mumbai cricket enormously.

  • dummy4fb on January 20, 2014, 5:46 GMT

    Why coach ? First the M.C.A.Technical Committee should go , followed by the Selection Committee and then the Captain and finally the other players ! The playing eleven is elected by the Captain and the team delivers- if they fail why blame the coach ? Kulkarni was applauded last year for winning the trophy and today he is in dumps and to be discarded - why ? Mumbai dis not have its top 5 players - Sachin & Agarkar due to retirement and Zaheer, Rohit Sharma & Rahane because of National duty - when your half the team is not there why do you blame the coach ? Blame B.C.C.I. for faulty timing of Ran ji matches or planning meaningless tours at the cost of domestic cricket , which is your nursery. Finally Sulakhsan Kulkarni is a wicket keeper batsman and has never been exposed to international cricket, he has his limitation .......since you have to sacrifice someone , he is the easiest!!!!

  • dummy4fb on January 19, 2014, 12:48 GMT

    turning around the team fortunes should done in all aspects of the game. right from selectors, players and there comes coaches and physios. after seeing the match, i strongly feel the team which played well on their day wins the game. the same has happened in quarters. its time to support and nurture maharastra for betterment of national team

  • Kiyaora on January 17, 2014, 16:26 GMT

    Coach is at no fault, in the last match Tambe though a bowler pulled the team & was dropped for the QF, now you sack the coach!!!! What about great selectors ???

  • Kiyaora on January 17, 2014, 16:20 GMT

    I strongly feel Wasim Jaffer should be made as the mumbai coach, sacking Kulkarni is not the answer for mumbai team's failure. See the past mumbai had better players & under the same coach the performance was best

  • Rodc on January 17, 2014, 12:47 GMT

    They should sack the selectors for selecting a team of non performers,question have to asked why was harmeet not given a chance ?why did they not try sarfarz khan even when the batting was struggling.

  • desi1 on January 17, 2014, 8:59 GMT

    Good decision to drop Kulkarni, he did not take any wickets, did not score a single catch and did not take any catches. Nice scapegoat MCA.

  • dummy4fb on January 17, 2014, 7:46 GMT

    Correct decision. Mumbai cricket is facing a crisis at the moment, and we need new ideas and new selection policies to get over this and ensure we make a comeback next season. If action is not taken immediately, there is a real danger Mumbai could go a few years without the Ranji Trophy.

  • BetterReading on January 16, 2014, 21:06 GMT

    Jaffer should also now retire and start his coaching career.

  • CricketChat on January 16, 2014, 16:59 GMT

    Can't remember when was the last time the coach took the field for Mumbai. Seriously, it was the players who underperformed, not the coach. Same coach helped them win trophy just last year. Mumbai, just like the senior India team, is going through transition. Ups and downs like this will be common in the next 5-6 years minimum. Why not bring in a brand new coach instead of Rajput who also failed (by the same yardstick applied to current coach) miserably when he coached this team last?

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