| Arlen Konwar |
Guwahati, July 31: Assam’s preparation for the Ranji Trophy got a major boost today with the Railway Sports Promotion Board (RSPB) clearing ace spinner Arlen Konwar’s transfer application last evening.
Konwar, who has been camping in Delhi for the same since July 21, told The Telegraph: “I have finally been cleared by the RSPB last evening. I am cleared to play for any state and the RSPB has sent the necessary documents to the BCCI last evening itself.”
“I will be back in Guwahati by tomorrow and make myself available for the Assam Cricket Association for the ongoing fitness camp for the Ranji probables if they consider me for it,” Konwar added.
If the ACA does not include him among the probables, Konwar will be free to play for any other state.
An employee with NF Railway, the Sivasagar offie, who had been a regular in the Assam team since 2001, was fielded by the Railways in only two matches last season and he had been trying for a return to the home fold.
On being informed by The Telegraph, ACA secretary Bikash Baruah was elated when he said: “I am happy that we are going to have him back. We can now breathe easy with Arlen and (Jamaluddin) Syed Mohammad in the spin department.”
Assam had the worst season in the spin department last year.
With Konwar out doing duty for his employers, Assam had to try as many as seven new faces, including Kerala veteran Sreekumar Nair, unsuccessfully.
The ACA had signed Syed Mohammad, who is also a handy batsman in the middle order, last year itself but could not avail of his services because of injury.
The Royal Challengers Bangalore player has, however, submitted his fitness certificates this time.
On his assessment of Syed Mohammad as a Ranji Trophy player, former Test cap Venkata Pathi Raju told The Telegraph that he was not very familiar with the player but felt the youngster “should take it up very seriously, as it is an opportunity for him to make a break in first class cricket”.
“What I have observed of him is that he is a good all-rounder and a left arm spinner in the shorter version of the game. Ranji Trophy is undoubtedly a different ball game. The selectors in Assam might have tried him and found him impressive,” Raju said.
Pitted with Services, Andhra Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Tripura, Jharkhand, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh and Goa in Group C, Assam will open their campaign with a fixture against Tripura on home turf from November 2 to 5. Of the eight matches, Assam will host four and play as many on away venues.
Spinners will play a key role on home turf, which are mostly turning tracks.
Assam will play Jharkhand, Kerala, Services and Goa in away venues.