Ramesh Powar was regarded as the front-runner for the job. (File Photo)
FORMER MUMBAI wicket-keeper batsman Vinayak Samant will take over as the new coach of the Mumbai Ranji team after he pipped Ramesh Powar for the post. The Mumbai Cricket Improvement Committee (CIC) gave the final nod to Samant following what’s learnt to be a lot of deliberation with the MCA managing committee.
The CIC’s first choice was Powar, the former India off-spinner. However, the MCA had passed a resolution a few months ago, wherein Powar was barred from being given any coaching assignment owing to his critical public comments about the association and also for quitting his job as the academy’s spin consultant mid-season.
MCA joint secretary Unmesh Khanvilkar confirmed that it was the MCA’s resolution that had eventually tipped the scales in favour of Samant, who played most of his 101 first-class games for Mumbai in a career spanning 15 seasons. “All candidates were discussed. The MCA managing committee had passed a resolution earlier which says that MCA can’t consider candidates who leave their job mid-season for any other coaching role. Powar had resigned as academy coach mid-season last time. The CIC felt that it’s better to go with Samant as he knows the players and understands the system well. Under him, Mumbai even won the under-23 national championship,” Khanvilkar said.
On Thursday afternoon, the CIC resumed their meeting to finalise the coaches for the senior and under-19 teams. The committee were firm on giving the nod to Powar. But the resolution remained a massive barrier, which to their credit they did try to overcome.
The Indian Express has learnt that the managing committee consulted the MCA’s CoA, comprising retired justices Hemant Gokhale and VM Kanade, over finding a way past the resolution. Gokhale and Kanade insisted that the authority of reversing the resolution’s order would rest in the new managing committee’s hands whenever they are elected, which meant for now Powar couldn’t be considered for the job.
Meanwhile, the 45-year-old Samant, expressed his pleasant surprise at being named coach and his delight at getting to reignite Mumbai’s dominance in domestic cricket.
“I wasn’t expecting to get the job. After all, Powar was my competition and he has played for India. I like to thank the CIC and MCA, who showed their trust in me. I have been coaching for a while now and oversaw the title-winning Mumbai under-23 team as well. I always felt the coach’s responsibility is to see things are done in order. I’ve always believed in the process. I have been part of so many Ranji wins and we won them all because we just followed the process, doing the right thing at the right time,” Samant said.