Posted On Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 08:58:36 AM
The only time Sachin Tendulkar was part of a Mumbai side that lost in the Ranji Trophy summit clash was way back in 1990-91 when Haryana beat the hosts in what is remembered to be one of the finest final clashes in the tournament’s history.
After that, the 39-year-old has maintained a clean sheet featuring in five wins: some sort of an achievement for a man who has spent virtually the whole of his career doing duty for the national team.
|ALL SMILES: Wasim Jaffer, Sachin Tendulkar and skipper Ajit Agarkar find something funny during the presentation ceremony
Tendulkar was a mightily satisfied man after Mumbai recorded a convincing innings and 125-run victory over Saurashtra yesterday. “We won the title for the 40th time. Mumbai have again showed that it is a champion side.
We have a good team, nice blend of youngsters and senior players,” said Tendulkar. “It is a wonderful moment for Mumbai cricket, not just for the players but also for the administrative side. It’s been a team work and I take this opportunity to congratulate every one and hope it continues,” added Tendulkar.
He praised his team for fighting it out when things looked to be getting sticky, especially during the final moments of the league stage when Mumbai were left with absolutely no choice but to win at least nine points from the last two games.
“There were moments when the going was tough, but that is when the team stuck together and performed brilliantly. I feel very happy, especially for Ajit Agarkar, who had a rough season last year.
It was really difficult for him,” he said, referring to the captain’s omission from the game against Orissa in Cuttack last season followed by the host of injuries he’s had to battle. “But this season he led from the front and led beautifully. He performed when it mattered.
The team supported him right through along with the support staff,” he added. Agarkar on his part said: “I feel very happy and very, very proud obviously. I’ve won it before, but to win as captain makes it even more special. It’s very special.
Having not been in the final for a couple of years, all the guys were very keen to do well. Winning the Ranji Trophy is not easy and as the years have gone by it’s become tougher because other teams have improved so much.”
He was on the same page as Tendulkar when he said: “Everyone has chipped in at different times in the season. We’ve had eight or nine guys who have had exceptional seasons and that’s why we’re here today.
“Dhawal is one of the guys who has done well. He’s been our stand-out performer for four or five seasons now. Tare has had a great season, as has Hiken, Sachin has played a crucial role, Jaffer has done well as has Ankeet.”
Meanwhile, Saurashtra coach, Debu Mitra rued the fact that the BCCI had not allowed their inspirational batsman Cheteshwar Pujara to feature in the final. “I don’t know what their thinking was.
But it would have helped Cheteshwar if he was allowed to play the final. It would have boosted our team as well as prepared him for the tough series that awaits India against Australia.”
What they said
► It is a fantastic achievement by Mumbai, full marks to the entire team. The coaches and the support staff have had a big part to play in this victory and great captaincy by Ajit Agarkar. It was, however, a little disheartening to see the quality of the final which was slightly below the standards.
- Dilip Vengsarkar
► It’s a wonderful to win the tournament for the 40th time for a great team like Mumbai. But then the final became one-sided. The quality and competency we expect from a finalist wasn’t there.
- Lalchand Rajput
► It’s a great performance by the Mumbai, in particular the bowling unit. Winning it for the 40th time is a great feeling knowing that the other teams haven’t even crossed the single digit mark. Only New South Wales have more domestic titles as a team and that’s the next target for Mumbai.
- Pravin Amre
► It was a sub-standard final. For a final to finish in just two and three quarters of a day in country’s highest domestic cricket competition is quite poor. I’m not surprised that Mumbai won. Although they struggled to get the points earlier, they hit form just when it mattered most.
- Milind Rege