Robin Bist returns to Rajasthan

… but the two-time Ranji Trophy champion side will play as Team Rajasthan in Ranji Trophy after the warring factions at the RCA fail to make truce.

Over the years, Bist turned out to be a batting mainstay for Rajasthan.   -  V. Ganesan

A couple of seasons back when Robin Bist left Rajasthan, it was more of a silent exit. In his close circles, the batsman, who played a key role in Rajasthan’s two-time Ranji Trophy title win, had even admitted that it was more of an emotional decision.

Shifting base to Himachal Pradesh — which was headed by former BCCI chief Anurag Thakur — was perhaps also an attempt to revive his career and try his luck for an India berth.

But that move didn’t go the way he wanted it to. From a senior contender for the India berth, Bist literally went off the radar in the last two seasons. Things worsened on the personal front too. With his father diagnosed with cancer, the batsman had to spend most of the time away from the game last season.

But this time around, it is going to be a different story. Burying the hatchet with his old domestic side, Bist is returning to Rajasthan for the Ranji Trophy.

However, he will have to appear for Team Rajasthan after Rajasthan High Court, on Tuesday, ordered that with the warring factions at the controversy-ridden Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) unable to call a truce, the players will continue to participate in the domestic tournaments under the Team Rajasthan banner. A three-member selection committee will pick the players, and if sources are to be believed then former coach Amit Asawa may take charge again.

Bist, on his part, has already obtained a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the BCCI. He will be reaching Jaipur in the next few days for training. “I have decided to move back to Rajasthan. That’s one State that has given me everything, so it would be good to play for them again,” Bist told Sportstar.

After some consistent performances in the domestic season for a few years, Bist was considered one of the brightest talents of Indian cricket, and even got the backing of former India captain Sunil Gavaskar. But soon after Lalit Modi was elected as the president, the BCCI suspended the RCA in May 2014, leaving the future of players hanging by a thread. Even though, the Board allowed the players to participate in the Ranji Trophy as Team Rajasthan, the performances haven’t been that impressive.

Bist, however, is hoping to leave the past behind. “If you ask me if that was a mistake, I would say it wasn’t. Perhaps, that was what the circumstance demanded. But now, things look bright again,” he said, adding that as a senior player, his job would be to guide the team through ups and downs. “Having the experience of playing in Rajasthan, I know what it takes to deliver the goods,” 29-year-old Bist, who has played 84 first-class matches, opined.

Over the years, Bist turned out to be a batting mainstay for Rajasthan. Though not on record, some of his team-mates at the desert State felt that Bist’s absence cost the team dear in the last two seasons.

With him back in the fray, Rajasthan would be hoping to change its sorry story!