Raining titles in Mumbai
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Mumbai has stuck it rich this season. At last count, they had grabbed three national titles - u-16, u-25 and the Ranji Trophy and figured in the u-19 final.
Their 40th Ranji title more than all other teams put together came after trouncing Saurashtra inside three days at Wankhede stadium. On the same day, in New Delhi, Mumbai under-16 wrested the Vijay Merchant Trophy. Few weeks ago, the Mumbai 'A' team had retained the u-25 title.
The city's dominance in Indian cricket is nothing new, however a closer look at recent history would tell you that Mumbai had found it tough to hold onto their reputation in the face of other emerging teams like Rajasthan, Railways, UP and Baroda. While Mumbai's Ranji crown came after a gap of three years, it is the junior title rush that has been most heartening for the city.
This has lot to do with Mumbai witnessing the emergence of some extra-ordinary young talent. Before playing a big role in Mumbai's u-16 success, Arman Jaffer had a record-score of 498 in the u-16 Harris Shield schools meet when he was a mere 13. MCA's junior selection committee then got him and three other performers Jay Bista, Sarfaraz Khan and Prithivi Shaw to play the u-19 selection trials.
MCA's planning seems to be headed in the right direction, with the continuity factor contributing to success. Besides, Mumbai, being a city team, doesn't have to grapple with problems of players picked from across the state, so holding long, professional camps are no problem here. Apart from BCCI's u-16 tournament, Mumbai has the Harris Shield, Coca Cola Cup, Khichadiya Cup, Vinoo Mankad DSO, Santosh Ghosh, Kalpesh Koli and Shatkar Trophies, both the numbers and competitiveness far more staggering than any other city in the country.