Shreevats Goswami has decided to move on from Bengal and feature for Mizoram in the upcoming domestic season.
The wicketkeeper-batsman, who has featured in 55 first-class, 91 List A and 104 T20 matches, last played for Bengal in the 2021 Vijay Hazare Trophy, and did not play any red-ball cricket for the state team since March 2020.
This year, the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) left him out of the 41-member probables list, forcing Goswami to weigh his options.
“I took the decision after I was left out of the probables for the season,” Goswami told Sportstar from Manchester on Friday. “Last season, after I returned from the IPL, I was dropped from the T20 team surprisingly, without any communication. When I asked them, there was no proper answer from anyone, and I thought things weren’t going anywhere…”
In the 2019-20 season, Goswami hammered three half-centuries but had to miss out on the final as India international Wriddhiman Saha was preferred over him for the summit clash against Saurashtra.
While Goswami was part of the Sunrisers Hyderabad until 2021, he was not considered for red-ball cricket after the Covid-19 pandemic.
“After playing first-class cricket for 13 years for Bengal, all I needed was some sort of clarity, but there was nothing. That was a sign for me that perhaps my time was up for Bengal. So, when this offer came my way, I took it up. I know, it is a plate team, but then, there are responsibilities,” the 33-year-old said, adding, “I have a lot of cricket left, so I decided to move on…”
After being ignored from the Bengal squad, Goswami did try to speak to the concerned people to know the reason behind his omission, but there was no proper answer. “I tried, but there was no response. There was no clear communication after I got dropped. I tried calling the concerned people, some of them would not answer the call, while some would not give valid reasons, so I felt a bit disappointed,” he said.
“This year as well, when I was not part of the 41-member probables squad, I could not understand the reason why I was not even among the probables. When I asked for a No Objection Certificate, they gave it right away. As a professional, I had to move on and just play cricket somewhere…”
At Mizoram, Goswami will be joined by two other guest players Taruwar Kohli and Avinash Yadav and the wicketkeeper-batter is looking forward to the new challenge. “This will be the first time I will be playing for a plate team, so I will be going with an open mind. Once I join the team, I will be able to understand the situation and then act accordingly. As a professional, I would like to make sure that players in Mizoram feel comfortable around me and I will try to help them,” Goswami said.
In his long career, he amassed 2534 first-class runs. In List A, he has scored 3185 runs, whereas his T20 figures are equally impressive. In the 104 outings, he scored 2311 at an average of 27.18.
More than a decade ago, Goswami impressed the cricketing fraternity with his glovework at the 2008 U-19 World Cup, which India won under the captaincy of Virat Kohli. Since then, he has made his presence felt in the domestic circuit. But this time around, when he decided to move on, he did not consult any of his team-mates from Bengal. “It was totally my decision. I did not see a point in speaking to anyone as they are not in my shoes,” an emotional Goswami said.
He is the third cricketer from Bengal - after Wriddhiman Saha and Sudip Chatterjee - to shift allegiance to a new team for the upcoming season.