It will be a historic moment for Puducherry cricketers when they take the field against Meghalaya on Monday. This would mark the team’s debut in the Ranji Trophy.
An addition to this fixture will be the 100th first-class outing for Abhishek Nayar, who shifted base to Puducherry this season from Mumbai. While the seasoned campaigner is excited about the milestone match, he also wants the team to ‘enjoy’ the moment. And the side will be hoping to start its campaign on a winning note against Meghalaya, which won its first game against Arunachal Pradesh.
The host team will rely heavily on Nayar and two of its other professional guest players — Pankaj Singh and Paras Dogra. Led by Rohit Damodaren, the side has a perfect blend of youth and experience and it will be hoping to make its debut worth remembering. Meghalaya, on the other hand, will miss its seasoned pacer, Mark Ingty, who suffered an injury.
With guest players, Gurinder Singh, Puneet Bisht and Yogesh Nagar in its ranks, the Jason Lamare-led side would look to maintain the winning momentum.
In the other fixture, Sikkim will take on Nagaland in Dimapur. Both the teams had outright wins in their last outings and that will set the tone for the match. In the previous match, Milind Kumar hammered a double century for Sikkim, which eventually guided the side to a victory against Manipur. Similarly, for Nagaland, it was Abrar Kazi, who too scored a double century. So, all eyes will be on both these batsmen. Sikkim coach, Sanjeev Sharma, is confident of the team’s success. “The confidence is high and the boys have prepared well. We are looking forward to a good match,” Sharma said, making it clear that there are no injury scares in the team.
The third match will be played at the Abhimanyu Cricket Academy in Dehradun where Uttarakhand will take on Manipur. Uttarakhand defeated Bihar in its first outing while Manipur went down to Sikkim. But playing at home, the Rajat Bhatia-led team will have the edge. On the other hand, the onus will be on Vineet Saxena to ensure that Uttarakhand gets off to a good start.
Arunachal Pradesh will play Mizoram in Jorhat. Both the sides had suffered defeats in their first game and they would be hoping to swing back in the tournament. After all, these are still early days of Ranji Trophy.
In Dimapur: Nagaland vs Sikkim
In Jorhat: Mizoram vs Arunachal Pradesh
In Puducherry: Meghalaya vs Puducherry
In Dehradun: Uttarakhand vs Manipur