Back in the Ranji fold, Bihar banks on local boys

Bihar's return to Ranji Trophy this season will bring an end to an 18-year-long wait.

Shiv Sundar Das, a former India opener, is one of the applicants for the position of coach of the Ranji cricket team.   -  V. Ganesan

As Bihar gets ready to return to the Ranji Trophy fold after 18 long years, the Bihar Cricket Association (BCA) has decided to field only local cricketers for the upcoming season.

“We will not be taking the services of any professional cricketers. Our local boys are training hard and we will ensure that they get enough opportunities,” Ravi Shankar Prasad Singh, the secretary-general of BCA — which is recognised by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) as an associate member — told Sportstar on Friday.

With the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) clearing the way, Bihar returned to the fold last season and played in the junior age-group tournaments, together with the northeast states. But this time, it will feature in the Ranji Trophy as an independent team from the East Zone.

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While the association has made it a point not to appoint any professional players, the BCA is in the process of selecting a professional head coach. “We have received some resumes and we will soon take a call on the right candidate. We will have to discuss the matter with BCCI as well,” Singh said.

It has been learnt that the association has received applications from Randhir Singh, Ajay Ratra, Shiv Sundar Das, Tariq-ur-Rehman. “We haven’t zeroed in on anyone yet. We will figure out in the meeting and then convey the name to the Board,” Singh added. A final decision on the selection of the head coach is expected in the next couple of weeks.

The association is also planning to host its matches across two stadiums — Moin-ul-Haq Stadium and Urja Stadium in Patna. “The Moin-ul-Haq stadium has hosted international matches in the past and for us, getting grounds ready in time should not be a problem,” the secretary-general said.

After it was suspended in 2000-2001, the Supreme Court, in January this year, directed the BCCI to permit Bihar to feature in Ranji Trophy. After missing out on first-class cricketing opportunities for years, local cricketers of Bihar have finally found a ray of hope!