After days of haggling over the appointment of coach, Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) finally confirmed Ramesh Powar as the new man in charge. The former India spinner succeeds Amit Pagnis, who stepped down following the team’s poor showing in the just-concluded Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament.
On Tuesday (February 9), an MCA office-bearer said Powar, a former Indian women’s team coach, will take over the reins for this season initially. “The appointment is for this season for now and going forward, we will see,” the MCA official said.
“I am grateful to the MCA and CIC for trusting my abilities. I am looking forward to creating a positive environment in the side and playing a positive brand of cricket for which Mumbai is always known. I am looking forward to the assignments ahead,” Powar told Cricbuzz.
Powar’s immediate assignment will be the Vijay Hazare Trophy in which Mumbai are clubbed with Delhi, Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Pondicherry in Group D, the matches of which will be played in Jaipur from February 20.
The MCA was divided over coach issue with the office-bearers wanting former captain Amol Muzumdar at the helm while Lalchand Rajput-headed Cricket Improvement Committee (CIC), which looks after all matters relating to the game, insisting on 42-year-old Powar, who played two Tests and 31 ODIs.
So divided were the factions that the matter eventually went to former president Sharad Pawar, whose writ is regarded as the final word in Mumbai cricket. The former MCA and BCCI president is understood to have suggested that the association should follow the constitution.
Meanwhile, chief selector Salil Ankola said the team for the Vijay Hazare Trophy will be picked on Wednesday and also confirmed the availability of Shreyas Iyer. “That’s what he has told us. It’s good for the team that Shreyas is available. Now that the coach issue has also been settled, we will pick the squad tomorrow (February 10),” the former India pacer said. Iyer will now lead the side.