Guwahati: Four cricketers from Assam are en route to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to be a part of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020.
Nagaon left-arm pacer Mrinmoy Dutta, right-arm spinner Jitumoni Kalita hailing from Lakhimpur, and Rahul Singh, left-arm spinner from Silchar, will join Rajasthan Royals in their pursuit for glory. Sunrisers Hyderabad has acquired the services of Mukhtar Hussain, a budding right-arm fast bowler from Dibrugarh.
The bowlers though will not feature in the playing squad and would be used for bowling in the nets to train batsmen for the competition.
Selected from a preparatory camp that was held in Guwahati earlier this year and organised by the Rajasthan Royals team, the trio of Dutta, Kalita, and Singh was able to impress the curators of the team with their bowling prowess.
Jitumoni Kalita, former captain of the under-19 Assam cricket team, told EastMojo, “Dismissing Robin Uthappa twice in a single over was my best moment in the camp, and I think that got their attention.” From Guwahati, the boys traveled to Nagpur with the IPL team unit for another five-day session where they got the final nod to be part of the Rajasthan Royals’ campaign for this upcoming season.
With another Assam talent Riyan Parag already in the playing squad of the Jaipur franchise, the players are excited to join the team and put their skills into good use.
Mukhtar Hussain had a different course to the feat. He had been undergoing training for three years in Chennai at the MRF Pace Foundation, one of the premier coaching institutes for fast bowlers in India. Having returned to Dibrugarh with the looming pandemic, Hussain was overjoyed when he received a call asking him to pack his bags and get set to accompany the team Sunrisers team to the Arabian nation. The right-arm seamer is a regular feature of Assam’s Ranji team. Mukhtar was also one of the only two bowlers from India selected to train in the National Cricket Academy at Brisbane, Australia back in 2019.
All the four players have been advised to submit their samples at their nearest health facility for testing of coronavirus. The players will rendezvous with their respective teams in Mumbai next week where another round of tests will be conducted and based on the results, the teams will be en route to Dubai.
Since the lockdown with all the stadiums and training facilities shut, athletes have had to fend for themselves to keep up in good shape and ready for competitive sport. Mrinmoy Dutta had to wait for his turn at a local playground in Nagaon every day to train and maintain his fitness. Similarly, Jitumoni was bound to his home premises and had to improvise and make up a schedule of his own to keep his health in check. Rahul Singh in Silchar took to a local street to practise his bowling with the help of his younger brother.
This is considered to be a golden opportunity for the four youngsters of the state to learn from the best in business and also to leave a mark in a sport that has very few representations from the region. “The Rajasthan squad has World Cup winners, talented pacers like Jaydev Unadkat and Varon Aaron, it is a big opportunity to hone my skills and also to pick their brains,” says Mrinmoy Dutta.