Some of India's best-known Test stars of the Seventies and Eighties came from Mumbai University. The current generation, inspired by Little Master Sachin Tendulkar and his lofty achievements, wants to carry on their legacy in Indian cricket.
Called the Western Wolves, the Mumbai lads, captained by the upcoming Siddhesh Lad, will play their first match of the Toyota University Cricket Championship against Jamia Millia Islamia - named Northern Stars - in New Delhi on February 27. The inaugural eight-team championship begins on February 23.
The Wolves will have defend a reputation left behind by a galaxy of Indian Test stars like Sunil Gavaskar, Dilip Vengsarkar, Ravi Shastri, Sanjay Manjrekar and more recently, Ajit Agarkar. But the youngsters feel it's Tendulkar that drives their passion. Skipper Lad says: "We have to defend a tradition and hence the pressure will be on us."
Mumbai finished runners-up in the Rohinton Baria Trophy this season. In the final played at Manipal on January 6, Mumbai lost to Jain University, Bengaluru by 82 runs. It was also sweet revenge for Jain who lost to Bombay in the semifinal last year.
Chasing 336 for a win, Bombay were all out for 253 in 78.3 overs. The only time Bombay seemed to gaining some advantage was when Pankaj Jaiswal and Shashank Singh came together for the sixth wicket. Lad's exit for 19 really cost them dear.
Mumbai are five-time all-India University champions. Lad feels they will have to play out of their skins to win the TUCC, which will be played in the T20 format. "It's going to be very intense for us. But we are ready for the show...aab haamari baari hai," said Lad.