Guwahati: It would be a rare sight to not see a Mumbai player in the national squad. From Sunil Gavaskar to Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane, Mumbai has given India many cricketers. All these players also grew up in Mumbai. But why is Assam cricket missing out?

Assam Cricket Association secretary Devajit Lon Saikia believes that it is time the state opts for an out and out homegrown team without hired players. “It is often alleged that hired professional players from outside the state help bring laurels to the state whenever the state team performs in the national cricketing map,” Saikia said in a conversation with EastMojo.

According to BCCI rules, cricketers can switch states to play as guest players for a higher pay-cheque. Assam Cricket Association boasts two international cricket grounds in Guwahati-Nehru stadium and Barsapara Cricket Stadium. Both have hosted several international cricket matches since 1983. But to date, Assam has not produced a cricketer who plays for the national team.

Saikia believes the tendency to hire professional players from outside the state in major national level tournaments has given a cushion to the state level players. “Earlier, whenever Assam did well at the national level, it used to be said that it is due to the players who were hired from outside the state. We have discontinued that process. I get calls now and then from professional players, that I want to play for Assam. I want our own players to realise their potential that they can do well on the big stage,” Saikia said.

He added that without hired players, the state had won against sides like Bengal, Railways, Gujarat and Hyderabad in national-level tournaments. 

Instead of expensive exposure tours, the ACA will now organise tournaments locally with global cricketing facilities.

“Challenger trophy was one such event…it was a tournament organised in Judges field (in Latasil, Guwahati) with highs standards and we selected players based on their performance on the tournament for the national level,” Saikia said.

According to Saikia, organising international matches will bring crowds, but it won’t help build homegrown talents. For that, Assam needs a world-class infrastructure and grassroots development of cricket.

“Riyan Parag and the likes of others have to realise that they have to hold the fort for Assam, not any hired player… our aim is clearly a total homegrown team,” Saikia added.

Winter session of Assam Assembly set to be a stormy one

Trending Stories

Latest Stories

Leave a comment

Leave a comment