Bhaskar, Bhatia to assist Uttarakhand

Teams making their first-class debut in the 2018-19 season have been allowed three guest players in their squads.

Rajat Bhatia played for Rajasthan in the 2016-17 season.   -  R. V. Moorthy

Uttarakhand, making its debut in Ranji Trophy this season, will gain from the experience that has been imported from Delhi.

Delhi’s coach for the last two seasons, K. P. Bhaskar, and former middle-order batsman Rajat Bhatia, will provide the valuable inputs to the team which has also drafted Tamil Nadu off-spin all-rounder Malolan Rangarajan and Rajasthan batsman Vineet Saxena as 'guest' players. Teams making first-class debut this season have been allowed to field three guest players.

Bhatia, a veteran of 104 matches, last played for Rajasthan in the 2016-17 season before taking a break last year. The 29-year-old Malolan has played 38 first-class matches while the 37-year-old Saxena, with 120 first-class matches to his credit, has been a member of the Rajasthan Ranji winning team.

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The process of picking the Uttarakhand team had been underway here for more than a week with open trials set to conclude on August 30 at the Abhimanyu Cricket Academy here. The trials are being conducted by former Test seamer Suru Nayak, Punjab all-rounder Krishan Mohan and Bhatia under the supervision of the BCCI-appointed convener Ratnakar Shetty.

“It’s a new challenge. I am aware it would be tough but I accepted it because it gives me a chance to continue my own learning process. I will be able to educate the new team because I have gone through this process. I will strive to give them the environment to learn and grow. It’s a huge task and would need support from all the stakeholders who have come together under one umbrella,” said Bhatia, who completed a bio-mechanics certification course last year from The Netherlands.

Looking forward to the assignment, Bhatia added, “Most decisions would be taken when we face the situation. We can make mistakes but we should look to learn from them. I have seen some of the raw talent and believe me you would be in for some surprises from the Uttarakhand team.”