C.M. Gautam to play for Goa in Ranji Trophy

After 11 seasons with Karnataka, C.M . Gautam has decided to move out and help Goa regain promotion to Ranji Trophy Elite division.

C.M. Gautam has featured in 94 first-class matches for Karnataka and has scored 4,716 runs at an average of 41.36 with 24 half-centuries and 10 centuries.   -  K. Bhagya Prakash

Seasoned Karnataka wicketkeeper C.M. Gautam has been roped in by Goa Cricket Association (GCA) for the forthcoming Ranji Trophy season.

GCA president, Suraj Lotlikar, confirmed toSportstar that the formalities have been completed with Gautam, who made his first-class debut for Karnataka in 2008. 

He established himself in all the formats, but the right-hand batsman struggled in the 2017-18 season and was left out of the Ranji Trophy last season.

A seasoned campaigner, Gautam has featured in 94 first-class matches for Karnataka and has scored 4,716 runs at an average of 41.36 with 24 half-centuries and 10 centuries. He was one of the key players of the Karnataka team which won back-to-back domestic trebles.  

While Gautam will be one of the key players for Goa, the association has also decided to retain Amit Verma — another Karnataka cricketer, who played for Goa last season.

This season, the Goa senior team will be coached by former India international Dodda Ganesh. This will be the third stint as the Goa coach for the 47-year-old.

Gautam stated that the presence of Dodda Ganesh was one of the major
reasons behind his move. "It was one of the major factors. He's been
seeing me from my under-19 days. He has supported me and coached me. He has a great cricket brain," he said.

Relegated to Plate Division

Goa had a terrible show last season, losing seven of the nine matches in the Ranji Trophy Elite division and was relegated to the Plate division. The goal was to earn promotion back to the Elite division, Gautam said. "That is the reason they wanted an experienced pro like me. Amit (Verma) is also there. We have achieved a lot with Karnataka.

"We have to share our experience and help motivate the youngsters. If Amit and I contribute our best, with Dodda's experience, I'm sure we will be able to help Goa gain promotion."

Gautam added that he had moved out of Karnataka in search of a fresh challenge. "I needed a fresh challenge and a new atmosphere after 11 seasons with Karnataka," he said. "I had achieved everything there was to achieve. I felt it was the right time to move out."

In the Plate group, Goa will be facing the likes of Bihar, Puducherry, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Manipur, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram.

Earlier, there were speculations that India international, Stuart Binny, could also play for Goa this season.

But the GCA officials confirmed the move did not work out. Last season, Goa had roped in Mohammad Azharuddin’s son, Mohammad Asaduddin as a guest player. But he failed to perform and could score only 17 runs in three innings, forcing the association to dump him this time around.

(With inputs from Shreedutta Chidananda)