Assam State Team arrived at Kolkata for Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy T20 cricket on January 2, 2021. At the moment, Rishav Das and Ryan Parag and Co. are placed in quarantine at a hotel in Kolkata. The five-day quarantine period will end on January 7. After that, the Assam team will start their practice. Their first match in the tournament is against Hyderabad. The match will be played at Eden Gardens on January 10.
The importance of this year’s Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy is much more than what it used to be five years back. There are two reasons for this. First, it is going to be the first domestic tournament in India during the covid pandemic. As a result, domestic cricketers are going to compete at the top level after a long time and Assam players are no exception to it. The second reason is the Indian Premier League (IPL). Probably the IPL is going to be held two months from now. Cricketers may also be auctioned before that. So, the main goal of domestic cricketers will be to get on the radar of IPL franchises by performing well in Mushtaq Ali Trophy. The list includes three cricketers from Assam – Pritam Das, Rahul Singh, and Abhishek Thakuri.
Pritam has been a regular member of the state team for the last few years. The right-arm pacer from Silchar has been consistently performing in the limited-overs format of domestic cricket. A few seasons ago, Pritam took the most wickets in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, a one-day format of domestic cricket. Still, he didn’t get an IPL ticket. But he didn’t stop trying and rather worked harder to establish himself as a regular member of the state team. Pritam is now a senior cricketer in the Assam team. During covid also he continued to work hard for maintaining his fitness levels.
The right-arm pacer took four wickets in a preparatory match against Indian Railways at Maligaon before flying to Kolkata with a hattrick. With such a performance, he proved that he is in a good form now. But the real test for Pritam will be starting this time.
The Mushtaq Ali Trophy is the focus of every IPL franchise. So Pritam, the son of Silchar, is eyeing to play in the IPL by playing well in the Mushtaq Ali Trophy. Speaking to Barak Bulletin he said ” I have been working hard to maintain my fitness since the lockdown. As a result, I feel very good in terms of fitness. However, it took a while for me to get back in rhythm. In fact, after being out of the field for so long, you can’t force yourself out in the field. Doing so can be counterproductive and the chances of getting injured may increase. So I proceeded following a systematic process. The team management has informed everyone about their role and I have also been given special responsibilities. This time I am focusing on that. I want to play for an IPL team by performing well in Mushtaq Ali Trophy.”
Simply put, Pritam is ready to give his best in the upcoming competition. Another member of the state team, Rahul Singh, is also mentally ready. Itkhola’s left-arm spinner was the Rajasthan Royals’ net bowler in IPL last year. But this time he wants to go one step further and get a place in the main squad of any IPL team. Rahul said “I want to make a place in any team of IPL by performing well. I know the work will not be so easy but I’m ready.” Rahul joined the state team camp after playing competitive cricket in Silchar. Moreover, the left-arm spinner has gathered experience as he was with the Rajasthan Royals team during the covid pandemic. This time he wants to use that experience in the upcoming Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
Assam has already got two spinners in Riyan Parag and Razzak Uddin Ahmed. Even then, Rahul has a good chance in the top eleven because of his IPL experience as a net bowler. Rahul said that he will bowl according to the match situation. When there’s a need to put a brake to runs he’ll bowl accordingly. When a wicket is needed, he’ll strive for it.
Abhishek Thakuri, another star player from Silchar, wants to perform well in the Mushtaq Ali Trophy. There is one more wicketkeeper in the squad besides him. He is Eric Roy. However, Thakuri is ahead in getting a place in the top eleven. Therefore, the wicketkeeper cum left-arm batsman from Silchar will want to maintain the confidence of the team management.
Overall, the upcoming Mushtaq Ali Trophy could be a turning point in the career of three cricketers belonging to Silchar.