Sikkim may rope in guest players for Ranji Trophy

The team’s abysmal performance at the Vijay Hazare Trophy prompts the State association to change its stance.

Sikkim finished at the bottom of the Plate Group at the Vijay Hazare Trophy. Representative Image: AFP

The Sikkim Cricket Association (SCA) is no more averse to hiring professional guest players.

When nine new teams played the Vijay Hazare Trophy, most State associations stacked their sides with professionals from outside their States. But Sikkim stuck to home-grown talents. Its abysmal performance at the tourney, however, has prompted it to recalibrate its strategy. In its Special General Meeting held in Gangtok on Thursday, the association decided to hire guest players for the Ranji Trophy.

Sportstar understands that the SCA has already written to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the Committee of Administrators (CoA), requesting them to grant it “professional guest players” for the long season.

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“This is our first season and the results were not quite up to the mark (a last-place finish in Plate Group), so with the Ranji Trophy season coming up (it begins on November 1), the association has decided to change its previous stance and bring in a few professional players,” SCA president, Lobzang Tenzing, told Sportstar.

Better guidance

It is learnt that the decision was taken after consulting the selection committee members and the coach, Sanjeev Sharma. “We had to take the decision keeping in mind that it is a long season, and the outstation players will perhaps be able to guide our boys better,” Tenzing said.

BCCI’s General Manager (Cricket Operations), Syed Saba Karim, confirmed that the Board will make some arrangements. “The rules are very clear. In case of Sikkim, they haven’t taken any guest players yet. So, I am sure, we will make some arrangements for them,” Karim said.

“If a State association which hasn’t taken any guest players so far, plans to take the guest players, we will consider it. We will have a discussion over it and then take a call,” Karim clarified.

However, most associations — Sikkim being a notable exception — have already taken the services of the specified three guest players.

Sikkim is expected to finalise the names in the next couple of days.

Surendra named U-23 coach

Surendra H. has been appointed by the BCCI as coach of Sikkim's U-23 team. P. V. Shashikanth had appointed for the role by the association, but he later became the coach of Mizoram’s senior team.

A former Karnataka cricketer, Surendra has featured in 17 first-class matches for the his State.