Iqbal Abdulla set to join Sikkim as guest player

The 29-year-old obtained a No-Objection Certificate from the Mumbai Cricket Association and has already confirmed his availability to the Sikkim association.

Iqbal Abdulla has played 59 First-Class and 78 List A matches.   -  Vivek Bendre

The Sikkim Cricket Association (SCA) is set to rope in Mumbai-based left-arm spinner, Iqbal Abdulla, as a professional guest player.

The 29-year-old Abdullah, who previously played for Mumbai and Kerala, has obtained a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Mumbai Cricket Association and has already confirmed his availability to the Sikkim association. “We have received the NOC from him (Abdulla) and he is set to play for Sikkim this season,” one of the top officials of the association confirmed to Sportstar.

A member of India’s U-19 World Cup side, which won the title in 2008 under the captaincy of Virat Kohli, Abdulla comes with vast experience and has featured in 59 First-Class and 78 List A matches.

After spending nine seasons with Mumbai, Abdulla had moved to Kerala in 2016, and bagged 26 wickets in 17 innings before returning to Mumbai last year. However, he returned to Mumbai the next year, but couldn’t feature in the domestic season as the Mumbai Cricket Association’s rule demands a player to serve a year-long cooling-off period.

‘Seasoned campaigner’

He wasn’t part of the squad last year either and this time too, he wasn’t named in the list of probables for the season. “Iqbal is a seasoned campaigner and his experience will help the team immensely. We are hoping that our boys learn a thing or two from him,” one of the SCA officials said.

Last year, after initially fielding only local talents, Sikkim had roped in Milind Kumar, Ishwar Chaudhary and Bipul Sharma as guest players. While Milind went on to become the highest scorer of the Ranji Trophy, Ishwar and Bipul too had decent outings. But this time around, with Milind deciding to shift to a different team and association not too keen on continuing with Bipul, seasoned campaigner Yashpal Singh — who played for Manipur last season — has been roped in as one of the guest players. Ishwar, however, has been retained.

Sikkim, which will be playing in the Plate division, will have its home base in KIIT ground in Bhubaneswar.

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