Was appointed to the role in December; remains to be seen if MCA will accept his resignation
Mumbai coach Amit Pagnis, who had been appointed in the role just over a month ago for the 2020-21 season, has sent in his resignation after the side’s dismal performance in the ongoing Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
Mumbai were in Group E along with Haryana, Delhi, Kerala, Puducherry and Andhra Pradesh, and finished at the bottom of the group table with only one win from five games. They crashed out of the knockouts race after losing their first four games in a row.
ESPNcricinfo understands Pagnis sent his resignation to the MCA on Wednesday, a day after their last league game, and wrote that his decision to step down was due to the team’s poor performance. He also highlighted in the email that “lack of preparation amidst the pandemic has been a major setback. The team barely got any time to prepare and practise together as a team.”
Pagnis’ contract is until March 31, 2021, and it remains to be seen if his resignation will be accepted by the MCA or if he will be asked to remain coach as the BCCI tries to organise at least one more domestic tournament – the 50-over Vijay Hazare Trophy or a curtailed Ranji Trophy – before the domestic season comes to an end.
Mumbai had a number of collapses in their T20 campaign, stuttering to 52 for 5 in their 76-run loss to Delhi, 56 for 6 in the eight-wicket thrashing by Haryana, and 42 for 6 before being bowled out for 94 against Puducherry. Against Kerala they racked up 196 for 7 but they were unable to defend the total as Kerala opener Mohammed Azharuddeen smashed an unbeaten 137 off 54 balls to help chase down the total in the 16th over.
On paper Mumbai had a strong squad led by Suryakumar Yadav and Aditya Tare the vice-captain, while the bowling attack was spearheaded by Dhawal Kulkarni. Yadav managed only 75 runs from five innings, and the experienced duo of Tare and Siddhesh Lad scored only 56 and 27 runs respectively from four innings each. The younger lot – Shivam Dube (161), Sarfaraz Khan (115) and Yashasvi Jaiswal (103) – were the main run-getters, helping Mumbai to a strong total against Kerala and the five-wicket win in the last league game, chasing down 155 with more than an over to spare against Andhra Pradesh.
In the bowling department, Kulkarni went wicketless in his four games, Tushar Deshpande conceded 13.57 runs per over in two games and left-arm spinner Shams Mulani took four wickets but leaked 11.27 runs per over in the three matches he played. The most impressive performances in the bowling attack too were from youngsters Dube (three wickets with 7.50 economy rate) and left-arm spinner Atharva Ankolekar (three wickets with an economy rate of 5) who made his Mumbai debut this season.
Pagnis was appointed mid-December and the squad was asked to assemble on December 29 at the Wankhede Stadium, which gave them 13 days before their first game on January 11 against Delhi. The other teams in the group arrived in Mumbai later and were allowed to train only after three rounds of Covid-19 tests on January 2, 4 and 6. Mumbai were the only team in the group to play all their matches on home grounds – the Wankhede Stadium and Bandra Kurla Complex.
Vishal Dikshit is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo