Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar believe the T20 Mumbai League will give youngsters in the city an opportunity to catch the attention of IPL teams.
Harish Kotian/Rediff.com listens in.
Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have successfully hosted franchise-based T20 leagues and have had a large number of their players getting picked up by IPL teams in recent years. Mumbai has been lagging behind on that count.
As the second edition of the T20 Mumbai League gets set to kick off, Sunil Gavaskar, Mumbai, India and world cricket legend, had a word of advice for the organisers.
"The Mumbai Cricket Association must schedule this league before the IPL auctions," Gavaskar said in Mumbai on Monday, May 6, at the launch of the second season of the T20 Mumbai League 2019. "I know it is a little difficult with the Ranji Trophy and the Indian domestic first class season, but if you do schedule it just before the auction it will make a big difference."
"It will make a big difference because if you look at the representation of the states in the IPL teams, you will find that the Mumbai representation -- and when I say representation, I don't mean the Test players, but those who have played first class cricket and below that -- I don't think that is adequate enough," Gavaskar pointed out.
"Shivam Dubey got an IPL contract after last season, Suryakumar Yadav also got a big contract and I am pretty certain that there will be many more coming from this league who will be wanted by the IPL franchises for the next season," the first batsman to score 10,000 Test runs said.
"I hope the Mumbai Cricket Association can somehow tweak the scheduling next year. If it can be done before the IPL auctions, that will be fantastic," Gavaskar added.
Eight teams will participate in the T20 League to be played at Mumbai's Wankhede stadium from May 14 to 26.
"The T20 Mumbai League is soon going to be a league that most players from across the nation will want to participate in," Sachin Tendulkar, another Mumbai, India and world cricket icon, said.
"In this T20 Mumbai League there are going to be a number of players who have represented India and there are going to be a number of Ranji Trophy players. I think the youngsters are going to benefit playing around them," Tendulkar said.
"Not just the India players or Ranji players, there are also club cricketers who have that knowledge to share with youngsters and make them better cricketers," he added.
Tendulkar believed the league could change the approach of Mumbai cricketers and improve their showing in Ranji Trophy cricket.
"I know we talk about Mumbai not doing that well in the Ranji Trophy, but I feel there is always room for improvement," Tendulkar said. "If you think differently, if we give a new dimension to the way we think and we prepare ourselves. It is important not to have short term visions, but to have a long term plan and how in the next few years we can start dominating again."
"I don't think we (the Mumbai cricket team) are down in the dumps at all, there have been occasions where we have gone to the semis and final. I feel with this T20 League's performance. as Mr Gavaskar pointed out rightly, a number of careers started," he added.
Tendulkar pointed out that Punjab had 14 first class players taking part in IPL-12 and he saw more Mumbai players making a mark in T20 cricket courtesy of the league.
"We have got good talent here in Mumbai cricket. It is all about opportunities. In 2013 when I was felicitated at the MCA, I had said that in school cricket, we need to have 14-member squads to keep their passion and hope alive. That is something which I want to share here on this podium -- the response has been fantastic."
"Someone who is not sitting in Mumbai is also a father of two sons -- Rahul Dravid. His son was playing a school match. He said there were anxious parents sitting around him and he felt uncomfortable because all of them were worried whether their sons were going to play or not. That's the reason I said in 2013 that we should not have a single kid going back home without having bowled a single ball or played a single ball."
"It is important that we take care of their dreams, their hopes and their passion and keep it alive by providing them the platform to express their talent, nurture them and help them achieve what they aspire to be in life."