Shillong, Oct 31: Meghalaya will begin their Ranji Trophy campaign tomorrow at the Meghalaya Cricket Association (MCA) Ground here in an historic match against Arunachal Pradesh in the Plate Group.
The 15-member team is almost the same that represented the state in the one-day Vijay Hazare Trophy.
This is not the first Ranji Trophy match to be held in Shillong, though, as Assam had played United Provinces in 1948 at Garrison Ground.
Seventy years later the four-day first-class tournament is coming back to the Meghalaya capital and MCA officials will mark the occasion with a small function prior to the start of the match at 7:30AM.
Jason Lamare, who played for Assam 10 years ago, will continue to lead Meghalaya as captain, with Punit Singh Bisht remaining as vice-captain and wicketkeeper.
Bisht and the other two guest/professional players – Yogesh Nagar and Gurinder Singh – performed very well for Meghalaya in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, where the state won four and lost four games.
Only two changes have been made to the squad from the one-day tournament – Rajesh Tati and Amiangshu Sen (neither of whom made an impact in the Vijay Hazare) are absent, while Aditya Singhania and Bijon Dey have been drafted in. Sen, however, is on the standby list, along with Sanvert Kurkalang, Tengcham Sangma and Lakhan Chettri.
The three professionals were responsible for nearly 70% of Meghalaya’s runs in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, with only Lamare and Raj Biswa producing half-centuries among the other players.
Meghalaya’s local players did do better, however, with the ball. Gurinder took 14 wickets throughout the Vijay Hazare for 230 runs, but he was almost matched by Abhay Negi (14/293), while Lakhan Singh (9/179) and Dipu Sangma (5/78) also impressed.
Meghalaya Ranji Trophy squad:
Jason Lamare (C), Punit Singh Bisht (V-C, WK), Mark Ingty, Sylvester Mylliempdah, Gurinder Singh, Chengkam Sangma, Yogesh Nagar, Abhay Negi, Raj Biswa, Lakhan Singh, Bablu Passah, Wallambok Nongkhlaw, Dipu Sangma, Aditya Singhania, Bijon Dey
Officials – Sanath Kumar (coach), Rakesh Gohil (trainer), Dr Vinod Kumar Jain (physio), OL Warjri (manager)
Meghalaya Ranji Trophy fixtures:
vs Arunachal Pradesh, 1-4 November, Shillong
vs Puducherry, 12-15 November, Puducherry
vs Nagaland, 20-23 November, Shillong
vs Manipur, 28 November-1 December, Kolkata
vs Uttarakhand, 6-9 December, Dehradun
vs Bihar, 14-17 December, Shillong
vs Mizoram, 22-25 December, Shillong
vs Sikkim, 30 December-2 January, Bhubaneshwar’