5 Unsung Heroes of Mumbai Cricket
The Mumbai Ranji Trophy team, known for its 'khadoos' attitude, has often been the hotbed for cricketers in the national team – be it Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar or Wasim Jaffer, who helped India to a historic win over the West Indians in 2006. Sometimes though, due to inconsistency or lack of opportunities because of a packed first team, a few Mumbai greats have missed out on glory.
A prime example would be of Amol Muzumdar, who was due to bat next before Vinod Kambli and Sachin Tendulkar went on to have a record 664 run partnership in a 1988 Harris Shield game. Muzumdar went on to become Ranji Trophy's highest run-scorer, but could never break into the India team due to the talent already in the Indian batting line-up.
Here's a list of cricketers who quietly went about their business for Mumbai, playing the game with as much passion as their state’s more illustrious cricketers:
Perhaps the most unlucky of the lot, Diwadkar played during the times of Erapalli Prasanna and Srinivasaraghavan Venkataraghavan. He was overlooked despite having career-best figures of 6/19 and 211 wickets to his name. He later on to become the executive secretary of the BCCI.
The very first student of the famous Ramakant Achrekar was drafted into the Indian team when they were touring England during the 1972/73 season, before which he had led Bombay to a Ranji Trophy title.
After scores of 4, 35, 26 and 15, Parkar was dropped from the squad. An excellent cover fielder, he went to score 4455 runs for Mumbai, with a high score of 197.
A left-arm medium pacer, he went on to represent India in 4 Tests and featured in the 1967-68 tour of Australia and New Zealand. Kulkarni's 15 minutes of fame came when he dismissed Bill Lawry in his very first over. He finished his career with 40 wickets with an average of 39.95.
At the tender age of 18, Hardikar stunned Bengal with a spell of 8/39. An all-rounder by nature, he played in only two Tests, which were against the mighty West Indies in 1958/59.
With only his third delivery in Test cricket, he dismissed Rohan Kanhai and rescued India with a gritty knock of 32*. Hardikar continued to play for Mumbai and scored 2592 runs, taking 74 wickets in the process.
Shivalkar, a slow left-arm spinner plied his trade for Bombay for close to two decades. He was selected for the Indian squad when they toured Sri Lanka in 1973-74, only to be left out due to a certain Bishen Singh Bedi. He finished his career with Mumbai, retiring in his late forties. He is Mumbai's highest wicket-taker with an astonishing 589 wickets, with a best of 8/16.