GUWAHATI, Oct 30 - The recent announcement of the Assam team for the first Ranji Trophy match against Jharkhand has certainly raised eyebrows with many former players and captains questioning the selection criteria followed by the Assam Cricket Association (ACA).
While it is always good to see young players being given a chance to showcase their talent, however, leaving behind some of the seasoned campaigners at a time when the State team is struggling is certainly questionable.
�It is always good to see young players in a team but there should be a mix of youth and experience. Ranji Trophy is one of the most competitive domestic tournament in the world and you definitely need experienced players in the side. Although there are a few but I don�t understand the reason behind Abu Nechim Ahmed being left out,� said a former Ranji player wishing anonymity.
With 64 matches under his belt and having had the experience of donning several franchise colours during his stint at the IPL, the pacer has been left out of the side this time. Having been a part of the Ranji side for more than a decade, Abu is quite close to the mark of most caps for Assam, which is held by none other than the now coach Zakaria Zuffri (76).
�I absolutely understand the fact that youngsters need to be promoted but only after having played plenty of matches before making a Ranji debut. Here we are seeing some guys who have hardly had the experience to really handle the pressure at that level. Look at the spin options this time, do we really have someone to guide these young lads,� he added. The ACA has time and again reiterated its stance that the team needs time before making their presence felt. A close look at Assam�s recent Vijay Hazare Trophy performance reveals the dismal state of cricket in the State. A team which played the final of the coveted trophy in 2012-13 managed only a solitary win in nine outings � that too against lowly Tripura by eight wickets.
A former Assam Ranji team skipper lamented by saying: �At a time when the team is struggling to even give a fight, I don�t know why the selectors are experimenting so much. Another player who was given a blind eye by the selectors was Tarjinder Singh. Swarupam too failed to make the cut this time. I would also like to question whether there is any performance analysis being done on the selectors. I believe if the coaches can face the wrath then why not the selectors.�
Well, some might argue that the dismal show in the last few seasons is due to no outstation recruits. But weren�t our lads performing when there were professionals around? They were. The Vijay Hazare Trophy final in the 2012-13 season or making it to the semifinals of the Ranji Trophy for the first time in 2015-16. Instead of building on those performances we continue to struggle. These could only be attributed to an apparent lack of vision, not sticking to a plan irrespective of results and improper grooming.
Last but never the least, these were mostly the same bunch of cricketers who scripted history for Assam under Sanath Kumar.