A JIT(Just In Time) catch
A long time ago, one remembers being caught in the midst of the most violent and a roller coaster ride of emotions watching a Ranji Trophy final. On one side was the greatest Indian all rounder ever, pitting his wits and cunning against a fearless warrior. A man possessed, a man who fought like a lion, trying to climb an impossible mountain. He almost took Mumbai to the summit but only to watch helplessly from the non striker's end, his side falter at the final hurdle.
That Haryana - Mumbai final is still etched in one's memory and those solemn moments still haunt one's memory. One had never imagined that watching Kapil Dev lift a trophy would ever be a painful experience. And the utterly broken down Dilip Vengasarkar sitting on his haunches, tears swelling up in his eyes, is an image never really forgotten.
To a Mumbai supporter, the Ranji trophy has always felt like a family heirloom. Always pawned, never sold.
The nail biting finish at Mysore today and the sweet taste of victory may have somehow exorcised the ghost of that defeat. Mumbai is not a star studded team any more and arguably the Karnataka team had more 'stars' at the finals than Mumbai. But Mumbai was famous for getting the job done. And Mumbai didn't let one down.
A scrap is what a Mumbai cricketer loves and boy, what a scrap he got into at Mysore. Much was made about Mumbai's farewell gesture to Robin Uthappa and Ajit Agarkar's supposedly 'over the top' celebrations. Some references about the trophy being named after the 'noble' Ranji were made, suggesting that it was unbecoming of the Mumbai team to behave in such a manner. All one can say from the limited information that one has gathered is that the friction was created by both sides and Karnataka were not exactly saint like in their on field behaviour.
Agarkar's celebration was an expression of what all the Mumbaikars felt. Immense pride, joy and finally relief. A loss in another closely fought final would be unbearable. #39 is special. Life in the forties starts next year. Take a bow Mumbai!