Wednesday , July 24 2024

Bet on outsiders, UPCA stuck for victory

Kanpur, 21 February (HS). Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association's bet on outsiders proved costly for them. Except the Under-23 team, no team could move towards becoming champion. This was not the first time that former champions Uttar Pradesh performed poorly in domestic cricket. Barring a few occasions over the years, such demonstrations have become a routine affair for the Sangh team.

Like in the post-Covid season when Uttar Pradesh reached the final of the Vijay Hazare Trophy in Delhi but lost to Mumbai. This time, much before the start of the new domestic season in October, the Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association adopted several strategies, including re-appointing former Team India bowling all-rounder Sunil Joshi as the head coach, appointing Delhi Capitals player Nitish Rana Included.

Nitish Rana was made the captain in all formats and even many outsiders, including former Delhi captain Karan Sharma, were allowed to be a part of the plan. However after almost four months of the season they failed miserably to achieve anything. Rana and his team suffered a five-wicket defeat to Punjab in the quarterfinals of the season opener of the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy. They then finished third in Group D of the Vijay Hazare Trophy despite winning four out of six league matches. By the end of the season they performed poorly, finishing sixth in the prestigious Ranji Trophy.

Another Delhi player, Karan Sharma, flopped badly in the T20 Trophy, scoring just 52 runs in seven matches at an average of 8.66. If bad weather spoiled Uttar Pradesh's play in some matches, then the team management's decision to 'rest' fast bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who was dropped from Team India, for five Ranji Trophy matches was a bad one. Some said it was Kumar's personal reason but sources said the team management had taken action to give rest to Kumar from red ball cricket and to play outside bowlers in the team, which caused loss to the team.

The UPCA management is facing the external affairs of players from its own state, like Rinku Singh, Sameer Rizvi, Abhishek Goswami, Mohsin Khan, Swastik Chikara, Dhruv Chand Jurel, Priyam Garg, Kartik Tyagi, Shiva Singh, Yash Dayal, Saurabh Kumar Aaqib Khan and Ankit Rajput. Not being able to get along with people is also considered to be the main reason for this. A UPCA official said that if the association now expresses confidence in the players of the state, better results can be seen.