Amit Pagnis, the former Mumbai and Railways batsman, has been appointed the coach of the Mumbai team for the 2020-21 domestic season, which will start with the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament from January 10. Pagnis's contract is for the season only, till March 31, 2021.
Mumbai are placed in Group E for the Mushtaq Ali Trophy, alongside Haryana, Andhra, Delhi, Kerala and Puducherry. All Group E matches will take place in the city of Mumbai.
Pagnis replaces former Mumbai wicketkeeper Vinayak Samant, who coached them in the last two seasons. He was appointed by the newly made Cricket Improvement Committee that comprises chairman Lalchand Rajput, alongwith Raju Kulkarni and Sameer Dighe.
Pagnis played 95 first-class matches from 1995-96 till 2008, scoring 5851 runs at an average of 39.53, with 10 centuries.
The CIC had also appointed a new selection panel a day before finalising on Pagnis. The selection committee is headed by former India and Mumbai pacer Salil Ankola, and includes Sanjay Patil, Ravindra Thakkar, Zulfiqar Parkar and Ravi Kulkarni.
Ankola, who played one Test and 20 ODIs between 1989 and 1997, had ventured into acting after his playing career, but said he had been wanting to come back to cricket.
"I have been thinking of making a comeback for the last five years and in the past one year I have spoken to lot of my friends seriously with the wish to come back and do something for Mumbai Cricket in any capacity for that matter," Ankola told PTI. "My heart lies here and I dream to contribute in Mumbai's domestic success especially that the results have not been great for sometime. I hope I can play a role in making Mumbai Ranji champions once again."
Pagnis is expected to meet the selectors on Friday.
Mumbai, overwhelmingly the most successful side in India's domestic cricket historically, have not won the Ranji Trophy since 2015-16, which was their 41st title win. They did win the 50-over Vijay Hazare Trophy in 2018-19, but had a barren run in 2019-20 when they didn't reach the final of any of the three domestic tournaments. They didn't qualify for the Ranji Trophy knockouts for the second year in a row, were unlucky to be knocked out due to rain in the Vijay Hazare Trophy quarter-finals, and failed to make the Syed Mushtaq Ali semi-finals.