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Axe on players, coach

- Poor show prompts cricket team changes

Back-to-back poor performances against Andhra Pradesh and Hyderabad in the ongoing Col CK Nayudu Trophy have cost four Jharkhand players their berths in the side for the upcoming tie against Assam.

Coach Sanjay Pandey has also been shown the door.

Skipper Asif Fahad along with Kamal Gope, Abhishek Khare and Ashish Yadav have been dropped. Bokaro all-rounder Keshav Kumar has replaced Fahad as captain while Pappu Kumar Singh, Mithun Mukherjee, Sachin Prasad, Babul Kumar and Rahul Prasad have been recalled to play against Assam in Ranchi from November 2 to 5.

Kajal Das, a former Ranji coach, has taken Pandey’s place.

India under-19 batsman Kumar Deobrat is also out of the team as he has been selected for the Ranji outfit for the opening match against Jammu and Kashmir. Kumar, too, had failed to contribute much in the two under-25 matches he played.

“The changes were the need of the hour as we have to put up an improved performance in the upcoming tie. We hope the alterations will help us tide over the setbacks received early in the tournament,” a Jharkhand State Cricket Association (JSCA) functionary said.

Dhanbad spinner Asif, who is considered a bright prospect, picked just five wickets in the outings against Andhra Pradesh and Hyderabad, spending over 300 runs in three innings. Jamshedpur-based stumper Gope managed 38 runs in two matches while all-rounder Khare scalped two versus Hyderabad.

Opener Yadav also failed to make an impression, scoring 25 runs in the tie against Andhra.

Ranchi wicketkeeper Singh has served as the Jharkhand under-19 skipper while Mukherjee, a left-arm spinner from Jamshedpur, has been considered for bolstering the spin department. Lohardaga’s Babul Kumar, a product of junior cricket, is expected to lend credibility to batting along with Ranchi’s Sachin Prasad and Rahul Prasad of Dhanbad.

Jharkhand launched their campaign against Andhra Pradesh on a poor note, almost losing the encounter held at Keenan Stadium earlier this month. The team suffered a huge defeat in the second outing against Hyderabad, losing by an innings and 187 runs.

Till now, Jharkhand has failed to win a single tournament in the 2011-12 calendar.


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