Nagaland set to hire fresh guest players

Nagaland, that made its BCCI domestic season debut in 2018-19, has decided to release outstation players Pawan Suyal, Abrar Kazi and K.B. Pawan for the upcoming season.

Analysts at work during a Ranji Trophy fixture in Dimapur in Nagaland in the 2018-19 season.   -  Special Arrangement

The Nagaland Cricket Association has decided to release the outstation players who represented the state in the 2018-19 domestic season. The north-eastern state wants to hire experienced cricketers so that it can groom the local players.

Nagaland had signed up Delhi pacer Pawan Suyal, Karnataka wicketkeeper-batsman K.B. Pawan and all-rounder Abrar Kazi for its debut season. All three players turned out for the state in all formats, but the association had greater expectations from them.

“Our aim is to take experienced players. We are trying to groom our local players and we want them to learn from the experienced guest players. The outstation players have reasonably done well in the Ranji Trophy but we were not satisfied with their performances in T20 (which was live on television). Cricket lovers in Nagaland weren’t happy,” NCA joint secretary A. Rahman told Sportstar on Wednesday.

Rahman highlighted the criteria to select the new set of guest players. “There won’t be any trials. Past performances and records, and at least 40-plus matches in Ranji is our benchmark.”

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Only Pawan, who started with Nagaland with an experience of 50-plus first-class appearances, ticks the requirement from the last batch. Suyal had played lesser than 25, Kazi lesser than 15.

“We will pick guest players as per the requirement of the team. We will give more roles to our local boys,” Rahman added.

Former Hyderabad spin-bowler Kanwaljit Singh is going to continue as the coach, while the association plans to hire a specialist batting and bowling coach to bolster the setup.

Competing in the Plate group, Nagaland beat Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh in Ranji. It emerged the best side from north-east in Vijay Hazare Trophy (one-dayers) beating all its opponents — Meghalaya, Sikkim, Arunachal, Manipur and Mizoram — but lost all its fixtures in Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament that involved Elite group teams as opponents. The BCCI 2019-20 season starts August 17 with Duleep Trophy. Nagaland will begin its campaign with Vijay Hazare Trophy from September 24.