Connect with us


It’s the players who create the magic: Coach Omkar Salvi after Mumbai clinch 42nd Ranji Trophy title

Mumbai cricket has historically had big names as coach but the low-profile Omkar Salvi proved to be the unsung hero.

The Mumbai dressing room which has produced some of the most remarkable India players over the years can feel intimidating for the first time. This would hold true not just for players but head coaches too. Particularly, if the head coach hasn’t been a player of a certain stature.

Mumbai captain Ajinkya Rahane and teammates pose for a picture with the Ranji Trophy 2024(Jay Shah-X)

Omkar Salvi, with all of one first-class match experience for Railways, knew exactly what he was signing up for when he took up the Mumbai job.

Hindustan Times – your fastest source for breaking news! Read now.

“The benchmark always is to lift the trophy. Being runners-up is a failure. That’s always been the culture,” he said in an interview as Mumbai celebrated his 42nd Ranji title.

Most of Mumbai’s past head coaches have been either established Test players like Balwinder Sandhu, Pravin Amre, Chandrakant Pandit or domestic performers like Amol Mazumdar and Sulakshan Kulkarni.

But Salvi was not unfamiliar with the Mumbai dressing room having served as bowling coach for four seasons. He also came with IPL coaching experience, having been assistant bowling coach for KKR.

“What we did differently is for the first time we had a long pre-season camp in Alur with 20-25 players where we got to know them – not only their game but also their personality. It helped us to gel well and understand their style of play,” he said. “We had another camp in Mumbai and then played in the Buchi Babu tournament where we got to see them in match situations.”

That’s how Mumbai were able to fill in holes, even as players left to play for India. As many as 22 players competed at different times in Mumbai’s winning campaign. “With this team, there will always be players who will leave to represent Indian. For us, U23 was the supply chain and the club matches watched by the selectors. In Mumbai cricket, that’s where there is exchange of ideas in Mumbai cricket,” he said. “A great step our administration took was rescheduling the formats in line with the BCCI schedule.”

Salvi became captain Ajinkya Rahane’s trusted mate – out of the Indian side, the former India captain played the entire season. Rahane’s returns with the bat were poor, but he remained a mentor for the players. “Ajinkya has exceptional leadership skills. There are times when you are upset with yourself but the way he conducted himself… irrespective of his own performances, he would look at how a youngster can get better. Apart from giving freedom, he gave players responsibilities,” he said.

Rahane too was effusive in praise of Salvi. “I remember when he was our bowling coach, I came and played a couple of matches for Mumbai (from India duties). He would actually take notes. These small things matter,” said Rahane. “I am very happy and proud of Omkar. Our journey started from June and it’s all because of Omkar’s vision. We focused on fitness, creating a culture and giving freedom to players on and off the field. He has worked very hard for this moment. We didn’t play together that much, but all the hard work has paid off.”

Even Dhawal Kulkarni, who was playing his farewell match, spoke glowingly. “You want the coach to be a good friend. Omkar has helped me a lot with my bowling. He would look after me or Ajinkya or even the 16th member in the team the same way.”

“It’s satisfying personally, and I am happy that I could win as a coach,” said Salvi. “But it’s the players who create the magic and credit goes to them. For some of them, this will be life-changing. It pleases me to see the boys in the team grow to men.”


Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Must See

More in News