Kanga League, are we missing it or not? Let’s hear it from the players across each divisions..
Kanga League is one of the most biggest & oldest cricket tournament conducted in Mumbai. Every year, thousands of grassroot level cricketers and hundreds of club level teams/clubs get an opportunity to play an MCA approved cricket match which is a dream for many.
As Harsha Bhogle had famously said, scoring a 50 or a 60 in a Kanga is equivalent to scoring a century under normal conditions. The hostile bowling friendly wickets, rains, long grass & uneven weather conditions tests the players to the core. It is during these matches bowlers enjoy taking wickets while many batters end up improving themselves at the end of the Kanga season as they survive and score runs in difficult conditions. Such was the importance of Kanga back then, even Ranji Trophy and India level cricketers would actively take part in the tournament. Even though now the number of established cricketers taking part in this tournament has dwindled but it hardly takes away the fact that Kanga continues to be a very big tournament where players even from A to G division gets good opportunities to showcase their talent.
With lockdown this year, the tournament has not yet started & might get cancelled. Hence, we at Cricketgraph decided to talk with the players from each division to know if not playing Kanga has affected their game or not & should Kanga be scraped? Let’s hear it out from the players themselves…
Sahil Gode-Shivaji Park Gymkhana (A Div), Made his debut last year
Well playing Kanga league is a dream of many young cricketers who play in mumbai and also beyond. For me personally I had not played Kanga until the last season. I had never been given the opportunity to play even in lower divisions but then SPG gave me the most awaited debut of my career until now. Kanga league should be played as it helps all the cricketers to gain a certain experience which they can’t in any other tournament except the Kanga league. The wickets, the outfield everything is different and more challenging. I didn’t score much in my debut but just the feeling of playing the tournament at its highest level was a great feeling.
From Rudra Dhanday- Karnatak Sporting Association (A Div), Holds the record for scoring 3 Kanga League Centuries in 3 Consecutive years
Kanga league is a unique tournament, it tests your mental toughness and your competitiveness while playing on severely wet pitches and knee high grass outfields. It completely changes the dynamics of the game by making it miserable for the batsman and favors the bowlers which is a big challenge for everyone. I as a batsman enjoy these challenges as it brings the best out of me.
I miss Kanga league very much since I have had 3 Kanga league centuries in 3 consecutive years. The only positive outcome of this can be that players will take less time to adapt to the fast and skiddy pitches we will recieve during the season which can give positive outcomes to our domestic results.
From Omkar Rahate -Apollo Cricket Club, (B Div Player), scored an unbeaten 108* as a wicket keeper batsman last year in Kanga including a 21 run over!
Kanga League should not be scraped, the tournament makes us mentally strong, our technique gets tested as a batsman and whenever we fail to score runs on such difficult batting conditions, we go to the nets, work on our mistakes and come back as a better player by the end of the Kanga Season when the big tournaments begin which helps us to perform confidently in the core season. Hence, this tournament is a must for all the aspiring cricketers.
From Abhishek Pandey- Sainath Sports Club (C Div) -Took multiple 5wkt hauls last season
“By playing Kanga League i learned that hitting big runs are not important but spending your time at wicket is important as a small amount of total can also help you in winning the game and in bowling you have to be consistent. Kanga league teaches us how to play in every condition i.e if its dry how you have to play if it rains then how you have to change your plans according to the conditions and its a very good experience playing Kanga League as you get chance to play with Ranji Trophy players in upper division”
From Aamir Karatela- Bohra Cricketers (D Div)
“Yes of course not playing the Kanga League Tournament has affected a lot because it gave us a chance to showcase our talent and we can gain lot of experience from senior players. Suspension of tournament has not only let us out of grip of flow of practice but also keeping us from opportunity to represent in upper level cricket”
By Vansh Chabaria, Regent Cricket Club, E Div
“I played the tournament when I was 15yrs old and I was the youngest player in the tournament in E division Regent Cricket Club. Which other tournament gives so much opportunities to youngsters? It’s Kanga which is helping so many of us.
It’s very important to play Kanga league because it develops mental skills and also it helps us keep track with the rapid increase in competition of cricket in Bombay. If it will not be played this year, then the mental skills, mindset of future cricket will be affected a lot.
By Vishal Adagatla, Taki Team Sports Club, F Div (Last Year F Div’s Highest Wicket-taker)
“Kanga league is one of the greatest & biggest tournament in Mumbai where i made my Kanga debut at the age of 17. As a league, it gives you opportunity to show your talent. If we not played league then it will effect you mentally as well as on game when other all tournaments are knock out based in Mumbai Circuit where players do not get chances. If suppose he is 12th man in first knock out match and team loses then there is no option for such players…
Kanga league produce lots of great players for Mumbai and India as well
It should continued as it helps players to show their talent in different conditions of league as league starts in rainy and ends in winter so players can learn and take experience of such conditions and also can learn alot. I think it just needs improvement where in matches should be played for 2 days. By this MCA will be able to select players for Ranji Trophy”
By Ranvir More, Canara Vijay, (G Div)
“Especially in the lower divisions, the kanga league stretches till November, and also the tournament is not played anymore in the dampy conditions like before. Today even the players, be it domestic or international refrain from even stepping into the field in such conditions let alone play. Also the tennis crowd on the weekends makes it practically impossible to focus on the game…the fielders are playing with their lives just for sake of opportunity. I believe the Kanga league must be hosted in better conditions where players don’t have to fear injury or any incident with the tennis cricketers, also given there is shortage of space due to metro work on azad maidan. I know it is difficult to organize matches with less interference, but these conditions are not acceptable.
The game has become more like dodgeball where we are more focused on tackling the tennis cricketers rather than playing the game
The tournament i believe has lost its originality. And after looking at wasim jaffer sirs interview from your page i totally agree with the points wasim sir made”
By Sumeet Khanna- Kanga League Player and MCA Level O Coach from Payyade SC
I think in Kanga League batsman needs to have lots of patience for staying on the wicket. For opening batsman i think he needs to leave lots of balls outside off stump at the start of the innings because conditions are helping for bowlers, ball swings a lot, pitches do a lot.. Not easy to bat. Batsman needs to look the ball till the end,i feel real test for a batsman is to play to spinners because balls turn a lot, sometimes keeps low, bounces high.. Same goes for wicket keepers also.. Keeping in kanga League is a very tough job specially to spinners one needs to see the ball till the end till it reaches safely in his gloves, it’s important for a keeper to rise with the ball.
I feel batsman needs to play the ball close to his body.. Avoid driving the ball till he’s settled as there’s lots of close catching fielders around. In Kanga League i feel a batsman needs to have a good defence, middling the ball is the key while playing forward defense while playing to spinners as there’s always a possibility that the ball will pop to short leg or silly point. Hitting boundaries is not easy in kanga League because of wet outfield, long grass so it’s very important for a batsman to focus more on getting singles and twos. All these factors make you a very improved cricketer, hence Kanga is very important.
As we can see, we got a mixed bag of reviews from the players with majority of them missing out on playing the tournament. We hope this pandemic ends as soon as possible and cricket begins in full flow at the earliest