Mumbai, Jul 9: A quarter century after unearthing bowlers who went on to play for the country through a bowling scheme, the Mumbai Cricket Association today announced the launch of yet another similar programme for which it has roped in former Australia fast bowler Jeff Thomson as its coach. At the media conference today, former India captain and MCA vice president Dilip Vengsarkar welcomed the settting up of the MCA-IDBI Federal Life Insurance Bowling Foundation which he said would aid Mumbai becoming stronger and “help unearth excellent bowlers for Mumbai and India as well.” (Read: Shiv Sena-supported Vijay Patil bidding to end Sharad Pawar’s reign at MCA)Also Read - Not Devdutt Padikkal or Arshdeep Singh; Dilip Vengsarkar Wants BCCI Selectors to Pick Ruturaj Gaikwad
“Jeff Thomson, whom I had faced in the 1977-78 series in Australia as a 21-year-old and was the difference between the two teams in the series (that Australia won 3-2), would coach the pace bowlers while Sairaj Bahutule would guide the spinners,” said Vengsarkar. The 64-year-old Sydney-born Thomson, nicknamed “Thommo”, who terrorised rival batsmen in tandem with his fast bowling partner Dennis Lillee in the 1970s, would visit here in September before the first class season to put the 60-odd bowlers through their paces for a month. Also Read - Hope Virat Kohli Wins T20 World Cup & Signs Off as India T20I Captain on High: Dilip Vengsarkar
Thomson would return to Mumbai in May next year after the conclusion of the first class season to coach the bowlers for another month and he has been contracted for a two-year perid at an undisclosed amount, which is said to be very substantial, according to MCA’s sources. MCA’s selection committee headed by Milind Rege and head coach of its BKC Sharad Pawar indoor academy as well as its senior team, Chandrakant Pandit, would identify 30 pace bowlers and an equal number of spinners in the 19 and over age group for the bowling foundation. Also Read - Mohammed Siraj Hasn't Looked Back Since Australia Tour: Dilip Vengsarkar
“I wish Thomson could come in August but he has some prior commitments connected to the ongoing Ashes series in England and can come only in September. We are looking forward to all the bowlers getting ready to take on all opposition,” said Vengsarkar. The earlier BCA-Mafatlal bowling scheme, that began in 1990 under former England pacer Frank “Typhoon” Tyson, had unearthed bowlers such as Abey Kuruvilla, Salil Ankola, Paras Mhambrey, Bahutule and Nilesh Kulkarni who all played for Mumbai and India.