Process of reviving Bihar Cricket begins

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The cricket express in Bihar has finally left the platform,” beamed Bihar Cricket Association (BCA) Jt secretary Mrityunjay Tiwary, while hailing the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s first-ever serious initiative to revive cricketing activities in Bihar, which has previously been stagnant due to infighting and politics for a long time.
Since June 11, 25 U-19 cricketers, hailing from areas such as Siwan, Bhagalpur, Purnea, Samastipur, Khagaria, and Darbhanga have been taking part in a 15-day camp run by the National Cricket Academy (NCA) of the Board, at Patna’s Moin-ul-Haq Stadium. The boys, preparing for a U-19 tournament for the associate teams of the BCCI (Meghalaya, Nagaland, Arunachal, Manipur and Sikkim will be the other teams), are being coached by India’s 1983 World Cup hero Balwinder Singh Sandhu, and former India internationals Noel David and Gursharan Singh. They’re being assisted by a support staff, which includes physio Usman Jujara and Sreenivasa Rao, trainers Pratik Kadam and Prashant Pujar and video analyst Sanjay Kumar.
“We’re committed to giving every aspiring cricket player in the country an opportunity and platform to perform and excel. We have already conducted a very successful camp in the North East and Bihar is next. After these camps, there will be a tournament of associate and affiliate members, and the best players will get a chance as a combined team to play in national level tournaments across all age groups. This will give affiliate and associate members a chance to showcase their talent and gradually join mainstream cricket in India,” BCCI president
Anurag Thakur said on Tuesday (June 21).
“It’s a great opportunity for Bihar and the young players should make the best of it. Depending on their hard work and performance, and support from their association, they should improve in a very short time,” said BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke.
Sandhu was all praise for the talent that he has witnessed in Patna so far, especially in the fast bowling department. “There’s plenty of raw, top-class talent here. With exposure, they’ll get better. These boys are strong, hence, they’ll make for good seamers. At least 10-12 boys are good enough to play at the Ranji Trophy level, and there are five-six budding pacers with huge potential,” Sandhu told TOI from Patna.
“A 13-year-old pacer had taken none for five in two overs in a U-14 inter-school tournament here. That tells you about the talent here. In the past, we too have won U-19 and U-16 tournaments for associate teams, like Chhattisgarh, which became eligible to play in the Ranji Trophy this season. By next season, we should also be playing in the Ranji Trophy,” said Tiwary. Cricket in Bihar had suffered ever since the BCA was disaffiliated back in 2001 by the BCCI. On February 19 this year, the state was granted associate membership of the BCCI.

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