Sikkim ropes in three outstation players for Ranji Trophy

Sikkim has been granted permission by the BCCI to sign three outstation players for the 2018-19 Ranji Trophy season.

Bipul Sharma played a key role in Sunrisers Hydeabad's IPL-winning campaign in 2016.   -  K. V. S. Giri

Bipul Sharma, Ishwar Chaudhury and Milind Kumar will be representing Sikkim as professional guest players for the Ranji Trophy.

After deciding to go with home-grown talents in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, Sikkim had a forgettable outing in the tournament, finishing at the bottom of the league table.

This forced the Sikkim Cricket Association (SCA) to request the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to grant them three outstation players for the Ranji Trophy season.

Sportstar has reliably learnt that the association has roped in three players, who have proven their mettle in the domestic circuit earlier, and an official announcement will be made on Friday.

Bipul, an all-rounder from Himachal Pradesh, has featured in 42 first-class and 82 List A fixtures. He played a key role in Sunrisers Hyderabad's IPL-winning campaign in 2016.

Chaudhary has featured in 37 first-class games for Gujarat, and was also a part of the Kolkata Knight Riders a few seasons ago. Milind, a batting specialist for Delhi, has featured in 29 first-class and 51 List A games.

It has been learnt that the names were finalised by the association after consulting the chief coach, Sanjeev Sharma.

"We were initially thinking of relying on home talents but we have now realised that bringing three professional players will actually help our boys," a top SCA official said.

When contacted, Bipul confirmed the development. The all-rounder revealed that he had to take the decision after he was left out of Himachal Pradesh's scheme of things this season. "They (Himachal) were focusing on youngsters, so I decided to take up the offer from Sikkim," Bipul said.

Even Chaudhary confirmed that he will be featuring for Sikkim this season.

Sikkim is set to begin its Ranji Trophy campaign from November 1.