Shillong, Sep 1: The Meghalaya Cricket Association (MCA) named its provisional squad for the 2018-19 edition of the Vijay Hazare Trophy here today.
Fifteen players from Meghalaya and three guest/professional players were announced by the MCA, although the list will be trimmed to 15 in total after an exposure trip to Uttar Pradesh from 8th to 12th September. A captain will also be decided on only after the exposure tour.
The three guest/professionals are Gurinder Singh, a 26-year-old Punjab native and left-arm spinner who previously played for Tripura in the Ranji Trophy; Punit Singh Bisht, a 32-year-old wicketkeeper who has played for Jammu and Kashmir and Delhi Daredevils; and Yogesh Nagar, a 28-year-old off-spinner who has played for Delhi and Delhi Daredevils.
The state players are a mix of experience and fresh talent. The list includes veterans Jason Lamare and Mark Ingty, who previously played for Assam.
The Vijay Hazare Trophy, which runs on a one-day format, will begin on 19th September in Gujarat and Meghalaya are in the Plate Group with Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Puducherry, Sikkim and Uttarakhand. Only one team from this group will progress to the quarterfinals.
At the announcement of the squad, MCA Honorary Secretary Naba Bhattacharjee said that this season is a “historic” one for Meghalaya cricket.
“We have finally succeeded after a struggle of nine years to get full membership with the BCCI and play in Ranji and Vijay Hazare. Meghalaya should have got it much earlier because we have a cricket culture, but there was no initiative earlier,” Bhattacharjee said.
The selection process of state players occurred in different phases. First came a long list of 76 players. After exposure tours in Assam and an endurance test conducted by a BCCI trainer it was trimmed to 26 players.
From these 26 individuals a final 12 will be selected for the Vijay Hazare Trophy and the remainder kept on the books for the Ranji Trophy (first-class format) and Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy (T20 format).
Speaking of the guest/professional players, Bhattacharjee said that Meghalaya was “fortunate to get good players” and he described Gurinder Singh as a “prized catch” who was on the radar of Manipur and Assam as well and who was picked because Meghalaya lacked a left-arm spinner.
Bhattacharjee also announced that former Assam and Karnataka coach Sanath Kumar will lead Meghalaya this season. However, Kumar will only be available from the Ranji Trophy onwards, so he has deputed L Rajendran for the Vijay Hazare Trophy, which the BCCI has agreed to.
Abhay Negi, Amiangshu Sen, Lakhan Singh, Bablu Passah, Chengkam Sangma, Mark Ingty, Jason Lamare, Prolin Phanjom, Swarajeet Das, Raj Biswa, Chaman Pushp, Sylvester Mylliempdah, Wallambok Nongkhlaw, Dipu Sangma, Rajesh Tati
Gurinder Singh, Punit Singh Bisht, Yogesh Nagar
(TSR representative photo)