The five Manipur cricketers in the North East Zone team are no doubt worried about the unrest back home. But for now, they are focussed solely on competing hard in the Duleep Trophy.
Left-arm spinner Kishan Singha, who lives in Imphal, spoke about the troubles faced in the capital city. “The situation back home is… you all have seen the news. It is very bad,” Singha said.
Given the curfews imposed, cricketers in Manipur have not played matches for around two months. “Those of us selected for the Duleep Trophy travelled to Dimapur (Nagaland) for a camp. This is the only preparation we have had,” Singha added.
This prestigious tournament offers players from this minnow team a chance to shine on the big stage. Good performances can go a long way to boost one’s career, leaving no room for the mind to wander. “We have a lot of worries on our minds, but we must play no matter what. We must be mentally strong. Our association has supported us and told us to focus on the cricket. We’ve received a lot of support from our families as well,” Singha, who picked up two wickets against North Zone on Wednesday, said.
Pacer Jotin Pheiroijam, also from Imphal, stated that he was a little better prepared for this tournament. “I bowled in the nets set up at home by my father (cricket coach Pheiroijam Rohendro),” Pheiroijam said. The 17-year-old looked the part on the first day, scalping two wickets.
Many North East states have done away with signing players from other parts of the country, preferring to promote local talent.
Singha supported the move, explaining that outstation guest players did not serve the cause. “Guest players were not doing their job. Having three guest players was supposed to motivate the other players, but this was not the case. The guest players just came and went. We did not get any benefit. Now the responsibility lies solely on us local players, and that has given us a strong mentality,” Singha said.
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