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CIMA Gallary

Arlen cleared as home player

Guwahati, Aug. 30: Assamís preparation for the Ranji Trophy campaign got a shot in the arm with the BCCI clearing ace spinner Arlen Konwar as a bona fide home player.

Responding to a request from the Assam Cricket Association (ACA) to allow Konwar, whose transfer was cleared by the Railway Sports Promotion Board exactly a month ago, as a home player, the BCCI has recently ruled the off-spinner could represent Assam as a bona fide home player, ACA sources said.

He could now be invited to the senior coaching camps and selection trials, the sources added.

ďI have been informed by the ACA that I shall not be considered a guest player in the Assam Ranji team if I am selected,Ē Konwar told The Telegraph over phone from Sivasagar.

Konwar has, however, missed the summer fitness camp and specialised spinnersí camps under R. Venkatram and Venkata Pathi Raju here as well as the Buchi Babu tournament in Chennai in the process of the inter-state transfer clearance.

He was named a Railways player last season after he had been a mainstay in the Assam team since 2001.

When Konwar returned with his transfer cleared, the ACA had moved the board to allow him to represent the state as a home player instead of counting him as a guest player. Assam has signed on batsmen Dheeraj Jadhav, Hokaito Zhimomi and Jamaluddin Syed Mohammad as guest players.

With Konwar cleared as a home player by the board, Assam can now look forward to overcoming the spinner crisis it faced last season. Konwar will be joined by Chennai professional Jamaluddin Syed Mohammad in the spin attack that could turn out to be a lethal tandem in the four home matches on the turning tracks here.

The ACA had signed Mohammad, who is also a handy middle order batsman, last year itself but could not avail of his services because he was injured. The Royal Challengers Bangalore player proved himself effective with the bat during the recent Buchi Babu tournament.

In the absence of Konwar, Assam had tried as many as seven spinners, including Kerala veteran Sreekumar Nair, but none of them proved effective. Assam had even conceded points from winning matches because of the lack of spinners in the season.

Pitted with Services, Andhra Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Tripura, Jharkhand, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh and Goa in Group C, Assam will open its 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 turfs, which are mostly turning tracks. Assam will play Jharkhand, Kerala, Services and Goa in away venues.