Shastri spoke about how passionately he follows Mumbai cricket, despite his busy schedule. “I might have been coach of India, travelling around the globe, and also when I was doing television work here and there, but I keep an eye on Mumbai cricket, because I’m a proud Mumbai player who likes to win. He plays it fair, he plays it hard, but he plays to win,” Shastri said.
“And when I sometimes see scoresheets that show Pondicherry beating Mumbai, not that they are an ordinary team, any team can beat any team on a day, but it tells you that there is a problem somewhere. When you see a team like Himachal cruising through to the final, without any big names, and Mumbai not getting through and it has been for some time now, then you start asking questions,” he said.
Mumbai crashed out in the league stage in both the white ball tournaments this season – the Vijay Hazare Trophy and earlier the Mushtaq Ali Trophy. Shastri, who, at the fag end of his career had captained a largely young Mumbai side to a memorable Ranji Trophy triumph in the 1993-94 season, felt that some of the Mumbai players may have become complacent of late. “I get the feeling a lot of people who play for Mumbai these days take things for granted. They think that when we have a Mumbai stamp, then we will win, but this doesn’t happen. You have to go and respect the game. Respect the work ethics, respect where you have come from and then go out and play as a team, that is the Mumbai cricket team, with pride,” he asserted.
The 59-year-old lauded India’s ODI specialist Suryakumar Yadav for turning out for his club Parsee Gymkhana in the Police Shield. “I think the best thing I liked was to see senior players from Mumbai coming and playing this tournament (Police Shield). Someone like Suryakumar Yadav, who is with Indian team now, with the Mumbai team, when you have such players, coming and playing these tournaments, it only gives confidence to the other players to emulate them,” added Shastri.
He emphasized that the double century that Yadav smashed in the final against Payyade SC will help the dashing batsman in the future. “And from Surya’s point of view, I promise you, the 249 he got, the time he spent in the middle, the three days he spent on the field will stand him in good stead in bigger cricket when he plays later on in the (next) year,” said Shastri.
Suryakumar Yadav donated his Best Batsman award cash prize of the final to the three groundsmen at the Police Gymkhana
Yadav donates MOM prize money to groundsmen
Meanwhile, in a noble, laudable gesture, Yadav donated his cash prize of Rs 5000 for winning the Best Batsman of the final award to the three groundsmen at the Police Gymkhana for their efforts in maintaining the ground in good condition.
Brief scores: Parsee Gymkhana 524-9 & 142 in 37.4 overs (Sachin Yadav 53; Roystan Dias 5-51, Atif Attarwala 4-39) beat Payyade SC 171 and 197-6 in 40 overs (Bhupen Lalwani 46, Siddhesh Lad 46, Pradeep Sahu 40*; Sagar Udeshi 3-65) by 298 runs to clinch the Police Shield title