MUMBAI: A trip to theWankhede Stadium
on Wednesday morning, a day before the commencement of Mumbai’s momentous 500thRanji Trophy
game, betrayed no signs of what is going to unfold at the storied venue over the next four days. It was business as usual for players of the home team as well as the visiting Baroda unit, who went about their regular drills for a couple of hours amidst pleasant conditions.
And fittingly, for a game marking this occasion, domestic cricket’s most successful outfit will be at near-full strength, with only Rohit Sharma not being part of the mix owing to his commitments with the national team. As things stand, Mumbai are placed third in Group C with 10 points from three games, behind surprise leaders Andhra Pradesh (15 points in four games) and Madhya Pradesh (14 points in four outings), and will be pressing for an outright win in order to stay in firm contention for a quarterfinals berth.
Dashing batsman Shreyas Iyer returns to the fold after featuring against New Zealand in the T20Is, and the team management have a headache, albeit a pleasant one, as to whom to leave out from the XI who played their part in the win over Odisha in the previous game.
Memorable 18th bash for Shaw?
The team may end up rejigging the batting line-up and skipper Aditya Tare may bat at the top of the order alongside the young Prithvi Shaw, who has got his First Class career off to a dream start. Incidentally, Shaw, who has already notched up 279 runs in two Ranji games this season, on the back of two well-crafted centuries, turns 18 today and he would like to celebrate his big day in style.
Special gift from Times group
On behalf of the Times Group, Dr Venkata Kesavan, hon secretary of the Times Shield, presented the news report, which had appeared in TOI in it edition dated March 13, 1935, of Mumbai’s (then called Bombay) first Ranji Trophy triumph, back in the 1934-35 season, to Ashish Shelar, the president of the MCA. The Times Group has played a special role in the development of Mumbai cricket through its ageold tournament, the Times Shield.