Shillong, Jun 2: A touch of glitz and glamour descended on the State Convention Centre here yesterday evening as the North East Cricket Development Council honoured top performing players, officials and teams for the BCCI 2023-24 domestic season.

Among the 38 awards and citations presented, the big two were for the Best Players from the North East zone and these coveted prizes were conferred on Meghalaya’s Kishan Lyngdoh (male) and Sikkim’s Samayita Roy Prodhan (female). The Emerging Player awards went to Nagaland’s Aloto Sumi (male) and Manipur’s Sheikh Neha (female).

This was the third Achievers’ Awards Night of the NECDC and it followed the body’s ninth conclave, which was held prior to the ceremony. It was at this conclave that it was decided to alter the nomenclature of the NECDC from Committee to Council.

The NECDC was formed in 2016 with the sole objective being a united approach for realising the aspiration and rights for full permanent membership of the BCCI of six North East states – Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim. This was achieved in 2018 and the NECDC has since taken on the mantle to further develop and improve cricket in the region.

The conclave and awards night rotate annually among the members and this year was the turn of the Meghalaya Cricket Association to play host.

Kishan had a remarkable 2023-24 season in which he scored 937 runs in the first-class Ranji Trophy and one day Vijay Hazare Trophy, with the maiden double century for a domiciled Meghalaya player in the Ranji Trophy, in which he was ninth overall in the list of run-getters nationwide. For these performances he was also named Best Batter (senior men category).

Samayita struck 362 runs in the U-23 Women’s One Day and T20 Trophies, placing 13th in the country in the 50-over tournament. Young all-rounder Aloto dominated the U-16 Vijay Merchant Trophy with 641 runs (fourth in the country) and 33 wickets (11th in the country), while Neha scored 107 runs and took four wickets in the U-15 Girls One Day Trophy for Manipur.

There were four other awards for Meghalaya players. Pace bowler Akash Kumar Choudhary was named Best Bowler (senior men) for taking 34 wickets in 10 Ranji Trophy innings on a superb comeback from injury. Manish Sharma, a spin bowler, won the Best Bowler (U-23 men) award for claiming 54 wickets across the Col CK Nayudu Trophy and State A Trophy, while Dipankar Baruah was the Best Wicketkeeper (U-19 men) for taking 25 catches and making four stumpings in the Cooch Behar Trophy. Debasmita Dutta was also felicitated for taking the first five-wicket haul for the North East Zone team in the Senior Women Inter-Zonal Trophy.

Earlier, Meghalaya Cricket Association Honorary Secretary Gideon Kharkongor welcomed the players, officials, administrators and well-wishers present and spoke of the tremendous effort put in by the cricketers of the NECDC over the past season.

MCA President Nababrata Bhattacharjee then recounted the arduous journey of the NECDC states to gain full membership of the BCCI.

“We are really proud of what you have achieved in the national arena,” he told the gathered players. “It’s only in the last five-six years that we have been competing on the national arena as individual states. Before that, other states could never have fathomed that you would be able to give them a run for their money. We are recognising your performance tonight but you should not rest on your laurels – there is much more to achieve.”

Last month the President and Honorary Secretary of the BCCI laid the foundation stone virtually for indoor cricket training facilities in Ri-Bhoi and the other NECDC states.

“The present leadership of the BCCI has a lot of confidence in us,” Bhattacharjee said. “The President and Honorary Secretary waxed eloquent about us. You must take full advantage of their support and rise to the occasion. Our challenge to all players is that within five or six years we must have one or two players, either men or women, playing for the country.”

Also speaking at the event was Mamon Majumdar, BCCI Councillor and former Honorary Secretary of the Cricket Association of Mizoram.

He praised Bhattacharjee and the Chief Minister of Nagaland and NECDC Convenor, Neiphiu Rio, for the hard work in getting full membership for the six states. “Due to all their hard work we are standing here today. These people put a stamp on North East cricket,” he said.

“We need to improve more and for that we need infrastructure. Rains are heavy here for six months in a year so that is how the indoor training centres were approved. Once these are completed, our Honorary Secretary (of the BCCI) has something else in mind, which will be revealed in due course,” Majumdar added, while telling the players, “What you are achieving now you should not be satisfied with – you should push yourselves further.”

Cultural dances performed by troupes organised by Padma Shri Silbi Passah enlivened the event to cap off a momentous evening.

Full list of awardees:
U-15 Girls Best Batter – Barkhatun Khanam (Manipur)
U-15 Girls Best Bowler – Prenu Manger (Sikkim)
U-15 Girls Best Wicketkeeper – Aakriti Sharma (Sikkim)
U-16 Boys Best Batter – Aloto Sumi (Nagaland)
U-16 Boys Best Bowler – Md Danish Khan (Manipur)
U-16 Boys Best Wicketkeeper – Shyerinlo Thong (Nagaland)
U-19 Women Best Batter – Laishram Linthoingambi Chanu (Manipur)
U-19 Women Best Bowler – Sabita Luitel (Sikkim)
U-19 Women Best Wicketkeeper – Aakriti Sharma (Sikkim)
U-19 Men Best Batter – Yugandhar Singh (Nagaland)
U-19 Men Best Bowler – Anil Gupta (Nagaland)
U-19 Men Best Wicketkeeper – Dipankar Baruah (Meghalaya)
U-23 Women Best Batter – Samayita Roy Prodhan (Sikkim)
U-23 Women Best Bowler – Thoudam Mangalsana (Manipur)
U-23 Women Best Wicketkeeper – Keisham Kalpana Devi (Manipur)
U-23 Men Best Batter – Hem Bahadur Chetri (Nagaland)
U-23 Men Best Bowler – Manish Sharma (Meghalaya)
U-23 Men Best Wicketkeeper – Afzal Hussain Choudhary (Nagaland)
Senior Women Best Batter – Purnimaya Gurung (Sikkim)
Senior Women Best Bowler – Lalrinmawii (Mizoram)
Senior Women Best Wicketkeeper – Vanlalremtluangi (Mizoram)
Senior Men Best Batter – Kishan Lyngdoh (Meghalaya)
Senior Men Best Bowler – Akash Kumar Choudhary (Meghalaya)
Senior Men Best Wicketkeeper – Jehu Anderson (Mizoram)
NE Zone Player of the Season (Male) – Kishan Lyngdoh (Meghalaya)
NE Zone Player of the Season (Female) – Samayita Roy Prodhan (Sikkim)
NE Zone Emerging Player (Male) – Aloto Sumi (Nagaland)
NE Zone Emerging Player (Female) – Sheikh Neha (Manipur)
Felicitation – Sonam Palden Bhutia (Sikkim), Head Coach of NE Zone Team in Senior Women’s and Duleep Trophy
Felicitation – Kikam Bhutia (Sikkim), Head Coach of NE Zone Team in Senior Women Inter-Zonal T20
Felicitation – Sheril Lepcha (Sikkim), Assistant Physiotherapist for Gujarat Giants in the WPL 2024
Felicitation – Sentilemla Imsong (Nagaland), scoring the first half-century for NE Zone in the Senior Women Inter-Zonal
Felicitation – Debasmita Dutta (Meghalaya), taking the first five-wicket haul for NE Zone in the Senior Women Inter-Zonal
Felicitation – Neizekho Rupreo (Nagaland), being the highest wicket-taker in the U-23 Men’s Col CK Nayudu Trophy
State Award – Meghalaya, for qualifying for the Elite Group of the upcoming Ranji Trophy 2024-25 season
State Award – Nagaland, as champions of the U-23 Men’s Col CK Nayudu Trophy (plate group)
State Award – Nagaland, as champions of the U-19 Men’s Cooch Behar Trophy (plate group)
State Award – Manipur, as champions of the U-16 Boys’ Vijay Merchant Trophy (plate group)

(Meghalaya Cricket Association photo. From left: Meghalaya’s Dipankar Barua, Akash Kumar Choudhary, MCA Honorary Secretary Gideon Kharkongor, MCA Honorary Treasurer Dhrubajyoti Thakuria, MCA President Nababrata Bhattacharjee and Kishan Lyngdoh pose after the ceremony. The other two Meghalaya players to receive awards could not be present in person for the event)

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