Sachin Tendulkar has now played in six Ranji Trophy finals and has become part of the winning team five times.
After the narrow loss to Haryana in the first final he played in the 1990-91 season, Tendulkar has been part of the winning teams in 1994-95 (Punjab), 1999-2000 (Hyderabad), 2006-07 (Bengal), 2008-09 (Uttar Pradesh) and 2012-13 (Saurashtra). He missed the finals in 1996-97 (Delhi), 2002-03 (Tamil Nadu), 2003-04 (Tamil Nadu) and 2009-10 (Karnataka).
Delighted at Mumbai’s 40th win he said, “We have won the title for the 40th time! Mumbai has again showed that it is a champion side. We have a good team with a nice blend of youngsters and senior players.
“There were moments when the going was tough, but that was when the team stuck together and performed brilliantly. I feel very happy, especially for Ajit Agarkar who had a rough season last year. It was really difficult for him. But this season, he led from the front. He performed when it mattered. “The team and the support staff backed him right through the season. It is a wonderful moment for Mumbai cricket, not just for the players, but also for the administrative side. It’s been a team effort and I take this opportunity to congratulate every one.”
On the other hand, Ajit Agarkar who won his seventh Ranji Trophy, but first as captain, said he was very happy and proud.
“I have won it before, but to win as captain makes it very, very special. Not having reached the final for a couple of years, the guys were very keen to do well. Winning the Ranji Trophy is not easy as other teams have improved so much.”
He was all praise for Wasim Jaffer, who was declared Man-of-the-match. “He’s exceptional. I keep saying it after every game and he keeps doing the job for us year after year. To play an innings of that kind on a pitch like this, under pressure, tells you why he has got the amount of runs he has and the records too.
“Everyone has chipped in at different times in the season. We’ve had eight or nine guys who have had an exceptional season and that’s why we’re here today. Dhawal is one of the guys who has done well. He’s been our standout performer for four or five seasons now. Tare has had a great season, and so has Hiken (Shah) and Ankeet (Chavan). Sachin played a crucial role.”
Touching upon Saurashtra’s performance this season, he said, “They have had a good season, that’s why they were in the final. But we had conditions in our favour, conditions that we know well. I’m just happy we played well. I was a little bit surprised today. We got the ball in the right areas and was lucky enough to get the edges. Once we had them three or four down, we knew they didn’t have the kind of batting depth that we do.”