Mumbai head coach Amol Muzumdar said that it has been wonderful working with the new generation of cricketers of the team and shaping them.
Mumbai, who are 41-time champions have reached their 47th Ranji Trophy final overall and their first since 2016-17. Their semi-final tie against Uttar Pradesh was a draw, with Mumbai advancing on basis of their first-innings lead. They will face off against Madhya Pradesh in the finals.
"The only difference [in this generation's approach] is how you take it and how you bring it to the dressing room; how you keep that dressing room light. It should not be heavy. That has been the goal," ESPNCricinfo quoted the former Mumbai legend as saying.
"This generation has been fantastic. I keep telling them if you keep working on your game, the world is your oyster. There is no looking back. Look at the opportunity. It has been wonderful working with them, and just shaping them. Seeing them grow gives me immense pleasure," he added.
Muzumdar feels that the bold next generation of the team has the 'sense of the Bombay legacy' and every player values the coveted Mumbai cap.
Getting the team on track in red-ball cricket was a priority of his since taking up the job as a head coach from Ramesh Powar in June 2021 and month of hard work have borne fruit now that his team is in the finals.
The head coach's mantra for success was simple: to follow the process that is working in the dressing room and show complete commitment till the very end.
"This is a different generation you are dealing with here. I personally feel it is another game [the final]...We have not looked at the quarter-finals or the semi-finals or the finals. There are systems that are working in the dressing room, and we would like to follow that till the last ball is bowled in the Ranji Trophy season. That was our commitment at the start of the season," he said.
The progress of several individual players has also given him a lot of pleasure as many players like Yashasvi Jaiswal, Suved Parkar, Sarfaraz Khan, Shams Mulani, Arman Jaffer, Hardik Tamore have stepped up for Mumbai and delivered big scores or great bowling spells.
The team was extremely particular about managing the workload of bowlers and preventing burnout. A five-bowler strategy was decided before the start of the season.
The effort has paid off as left-arm spinner Shams Mulani now leads the bowling charts with 37 wickets, the pace duo of Dhawal Kulkarni and Mohit Avasthi have accounted for 26 wickets and off-spinner Tanush Kotian has 18 wickets to his name. All of these players have played all the five matches of the tournament so far.
Mazumdar is impressed with his bowling unit.
"The bowling unit has been fantastic, they have been putting in the effort throughout - 365 days. Trainers and physios have done a fantastic job. Dhawal has led the pack nicely. He has been the sort of a guy who mentors and takes them under the wings and gives them the freedom to do that," he said.
"Shams Mulani's... terrific performance this season. He did not pick up a wicket this match [semi-final], but he has been wonderful this season so far. There are some tweaks that have happened during the season and that's paying off," he added.
Keeping the team motivated this season was also a challenge as Ranji was played in two phases this time around, but the head coach said that team bonding sessions with National Security Guards in October last year and in-season fitness programmes during April-May for players not part of IPL helped.
With the final set to take place on June 22, Muzumdar is not fretting over his opponent or its head coach Chandrakant Pandit, who had led Mumbai and Vidarbha to two Ranji Trophy titles.
Pandit was also the team's head coach back in 2016-17 when Mumbai had last reached the Ranji final.
"There are a lot of things that happen in a season - a lot of ups and downs, out-of-form players and so many things to deal with. We would like to follow our process and focus on what we have done in our dressing room," he said. (ANI)