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Stars back for tie
- Swarupam, Amit in Elite group squad against Saurashtra

Guwahati, Dec. 12: The Assam Cricket Association (ACA) has recalled allrounder Swarupam Purkayastha and top order bat Amit Sinha to reinforce the state squad for the do-or-die Ranji Trophy Elite group A match against Saurashtra at Rajkot from Wednesday.

While Purkayastha, who was in and out of the state under-22 team earlier this season on disciplinary grounds, has replaced left arm spinner Prakash Bhagat, while Sinha has replaced wicketkeeper Rajdeep Das. The team was named late last evening.

Assam will have to hold the hosts at least to a draw to survive in the elite group.

Assam are placed seventh in the tally with eight points and Saurashtra at the bottom with only five points in their kitty. Selection committee sources said Purkayastha has been named keeping in view the wicket condition at Rajkot. “It has been a batting-friendly wicket at Rajkot so far. But we can expect any adverse condition in the last tie because the hosts will have nothing to lose. In such a situation, Purkayastha could be handy with the bat as well as with the ball,” one of the selectors said.

Purkayastha is one of the most experienced offspinners who could give able support to Arlen Konwar in a turning track.

“Sinha has been called in to strengthen the batting line-up if they retain the batting track for the match,” the selector added.

Coach Subhrajit Saikia was also expecting “any kind of adverse condition” at Rajkot, “as they have nothing to lose”.

Saurashtra need an outright victory in the match to survive in the Elite group.

“They will definitely utilise the home advantage. So, we will have to be prepared for everything,” he said.

“Besides, whatever be the conditions, we will have to put up a better show in batting. Our tail has so far been of very little use. We will expect some contribution from the lower order at Rajkot,” Saikia added.

Assam have tallied three points each from first innings leads against Bengal in Calcutta and Railways at Delhi and one each after conceding first innings lead to Mumbai in Mumbai and Gujarat here.

The squad: Amol Muzumdar (capt), Dhiraj Goswami (vc), Kunal Saikia (wk), Amit Sinha, S. Sriram, Dheeraj Jadhav, Tarjinder Singh, Gokul Sharma, Shiv Shankar Roy, Swarupam Purkayastha, Abhijit Singha Roy, Abu Nechim Ahmed, Ranjeet Mali, Arlen Konwar and Sujoy Tarafdar.

Basketball tourney

Altogether eight men’s and six women’s teams will participate in the 19th Senior Inter-district Basketball Championship to be held at the NF Railway basketball courts at Maligaon in Guwahati here on Monday and Tuesday.

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