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New faces for Assam, Tripura

Guwahati, Nov. 1: Two guest players will make their first class cricket debut for the first time in the state’s history when Assam meet Tripura in their Ranji Trophy Group C campaign opener at Nehru Stadium here tomorrow.

Outstation recruits Hokaito Zhimomi of Nagaland and Jamaluddin Syed Mohammad of Tamil Nadu are the two players expected to make their debut. While Zhimomi is a former Kolkata Knight Riders player, Syed Mohammad is from Royal Challengers Bangalore.

“Both have been quite impressive in the nets as well as during practice matches. I hope they will deliver in the season ahead,” said skipper Dheeraj Jadhav.

Coach Subhrajit Saikia said, “Though they have not played first class cricket, both of them are quite experienced and have been impressive in the trials.”

Zhimomi, who proved himself a useful player in the last Assam domestic season, said “I am happy to get this chance and I shall give it my best,” he said.

On the Assam team’s composition, team management sources hinted that Pritam Debnath, Deepak Gohain and Abhijit Singha Roy may have to cool their heels at the dressing room along with an all-rounder keeping in view the conditions for the match.

“It is a balanced side with special reinforcement in the spin department with the return of Arlen Konwar and Syed Mohammad. The batting line-up and the pace attack are impressive. The rest depends on the performance of every individual,” said Jadhav.

On being skipper, he said: “It is an additional responsibility this time and I hope I will get the co-operation of every player in the team. I look forward to a successful season ahead for Assam.”

Pune recruit Jadhav had been the most successful batman for Assam in the last three seasons.Former international Ajay Ratra, the Tripura skipper, described his side as a balanced blend of experience and youngsters. “This is one of the best sides to play with. We have a good pace attack apart from an impressive batting line-up,” Ratra, who played for Himachal Pradesh last season, said.

Tripura, too, will field two new faces in Samrat Singha and Sanjay Majumdar. “We will take a final call on the composition of the playing XI tomorrow morning,” Ratra said.

The captains were impressed by the wicket with little grass on it and felt the toss would play a crucial role.