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Getting the team ‘back on track in red-ball cricket’

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Muzumdar takes over from Powar who is now the head coach of India Women

Getting Mumbai “back on track in the red-ball format” is at the front of Amol Muzumdar‘s mind as he takes over as the team’s head coach ahead of the yet-to-be-announced domestic season. Mumbai, the 41-time Ranji Trophy champions, haven’t tasted red-ball success since beating Saurashtra in the 2015-16 final. In fact, they’ve only made the finals once since then.

“To get back on track as far as red-ball cricket is immediate priority because we haven’t won since 2015-16,” Muzumdar, a veteran of 171 first-class games, told ESPNcricinfo. “I think we’re in a good space as far as white-ball cricket goes. I’d like to impress upon the need to be multi-dimensional, it’s key for players at a personal level in today’s environment. So, these two areas are important.”

Muzumdar’s appointment was made official on Friday after the Mumbai Cricket Association’s Cricket Advisory Committee, comprising former players Jatin Paranjape, Nilesh Kulkarni and Vinod Kambli, conducted a series of interviews over the past week. A new coach had to be named after the position was laying vacant following Ramesh Powar’s appointment as head coach of the India women’s team.
Under Powar, Mumbai won India’s most-recent domestic tournament, the Vijay Hazare Trophy, where they beat Uttar Pradesh in a high-scoring final. Powar himself was a late appointment after the MCA decided to not extend Vinayak Samant’s contract.

Wasim Jaffer and Sairaj Bahutule, Muzumdar’s former Mumbai team-mates, Sulakshan Kulkarni, Balwinder Singh Sandhu, Pradeep Sunderram, Nandan Phadnis, Umesh Patwal and Vinod Raghvan were among the contenders for the job.

“I threw my hat into the ring purely on instincts,” Muzumdar said. “I think this is as good a time as any, when there’s a great blend of highly-skilled youngsters and experienced players there to guide them. We say Mumbai’s talent pool isn’t quite the same as yesteryears, but we’ve still got as many as seven players in the Indian team, which is still phenomenal. So, to work with this bunch is going to be quite exciting.”

Muzumdar has spent the last three years as a batting consultant with the Rajasthan Royals in the IPL. He’s currently head of their training and development wing at their academy in Nagpur. In 2019, Muzumdar also had a stint with South Africa as their batting coach for the Test series in India. Apart from that, he has been an active commentator in the domestic circuit since his retirement in 2014.

Muzumdar says being already familiar with the role of a mentor during the fag end of his playing career helped him tune up. “For about four or five years, towards the end of my career, I played the role of a player-cum-coach both at Andhra and Assam. Even when I went over to the Netherlands, it was a similar role. So, in terms of approach, it’s something I’m tuned to.

“The difference, though, is during those stints, you’re still in control of situations as a player-cum-mentor. Whereas as head coach, you don’t have that control of things in the middle, Even if you may have an indirect control, that touch is missing. But it’s the about the experience and the excitement of working with a great bunch of players that I’m most looking forward to.”

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo



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‘Fearless’ Dan Christian ideally suited to Australia’s T20 World Cup needs

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His BBL coach Greg Shipperd believes the allrounder could fill one of the troublesome middle-order spots

Dan Christian‘s “unique skillset” and wealth of experience make him an ideal candidate for Australia’s T20 World Cup squad following his surprise national recall according to his BBL coach at the Sydney Sixers, Greg Shipperd.

Thirty-eight-year-old Christian, who last played for Australia in 2017, was one of six players added to the large preliminary squad ahead of the tours of the West Indies and Bangladesh with the expectation that a number of those involved in the IPL will make themselves unavailable for the trip.

“It’s a unique format of the game and he’s got a unique skillset as a strong finisher through the middle and at the back-end with the bat, he’s got the capability to bowl a couple of intelligent, player-specific overs right across the three phases with the ball,” Shipperd said on the day he signed a two-year extension as the Sixers coach which takes him to the end of the 2023-24 season.

“He’s a super fieldsman but there’s also a wealth of cricketing strategy and knowledge that resides in his brain and he’s a real giver in any team he’s involved with. If you’re going into a specific tournament, they’ve got a couple of World Cups coming up, he’s a strong choice. He’s in form, he’s fit and strong, he’s got a lot of positives going for him. I hope he gets game time and performs really well and gets an opportunity to play in the World Cup.”



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Sophie Molineux named Melbourne Renegades captain

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The allrounder replaces Amy Satterthwaite after a season where the Renegades won four matches

Allrounder Sophie Molineux has been named the new captain of Melbourne Renegades as the club looks to bounce back from a difficult 2020-21 WBBL where they finished seventh.

Molineux’s appointment, to replace New Zealand’s Amy Satterthwaite, means a new captain-coach combination for the Renegades with Simon Helmot having replaced Lachlan Stevens.

Last season Molineux scored 221 runs and took 11 wickets as the team secured four wins in 14 matches during the tournament that was played entirely in a Sydney-based hub.

“It’s a real honour to be appointed captain of a club I love so much and follow in the footsteps of some high-quality leaders that I look up to,” Molineux said.

“Amy Satterthwaite has had a massive influence on the group and on me personally. Her wealth of knowledge and ability to stay composed is what I’ve always admired. Jess Duffin is such a competitor and leads by example and I’ve also had the privilege of playing under Meg Lanning in the Victorian and Australian teams.

“I am really excited to be able to take what I’ve learnt from each of them, combine it with how I approach the game and continue to grow and learn along the way.”

Molineux is a regular part of Australia squads with 24 T20I caps under her belt alongside six ODIs and one Tests although did not make the side during the tour of New Zealand earlier this year.

“Sophie has fantastic relationships within the squad. She’s tactically astute, trusted and highly respected across the playing group,” Helmot said. “She’s had an excellent apprenticeship working under some great captains, including Amy who has helped nurture so much of our young talent.

“That grounding under such leadership will have Sophie well prepared, we’re excited to see this next phase in her career and we’ll support her along the way. We look forward to the start of a sustained period of success for the club under Sophie’s leadership.”



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Debut double helps Devon Conway enter Test batters' rankings at No. 77

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Ollie Robinson made a big entry too, his seven wickets at Lord’s taking him to 69th among bowlers



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