Guwahati, Jan. 1: It was yet another season of disappointments that ended today in Assam’s Ranji Trophy campaign after they failed to qualify for the knockouts. But there was one silver lining for the ACA — some of the home players delivered.
Starting the season at the top of the tally till the third round with a 10-wicket win against Tripura here, followed by a win against Jharkhand at Jamshedpur and first innings lead against Kerala at Malappuram, Assam lost to Services in Delhi and were shocked by Jammu and Kashmir in a home match, triggering the downward trend.
The trend continued in a resultless match against Himachal Pradesh here, caused by bad weather, where both sides got a point each.
The was a sign of hope when Assam clinched three points by virtue of a first-innings lead against Andhra Pradesh here last week, which remained their points count till the third day of their last match against Goa in Porvorim. The anticlimax came when Assam fell 16 runs short of a first innings lead in Porvorim due to irresponsible batting by the lower order yesterday. Assam finished fourth in the tally with 21 points behind Services, Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh.
Unlike in the last few years when batting was a major concern, it was fielding, particularly behind the stumps, that turned out to be the bane of the season.
At least three dropped catches during the first innings cost Assam dear against Jammu and Kashmir, who walked away with their first victory of the season.
Keeper Rajdeep Das dropped Mumbai professional Amol Muzumdar at 35 in the first innings against Andhra which helped him score a century and deny Assam an opportunity to clinch an outright victory from that match which could have helped Assam qualify for the knockouts today.
To put it in the words of ACA secretary Bikash Baruah, it was however, an “encouraging season for us as our home players delivered when the guest players failed”.
“Dheeraj Jadhav and Syed Mohammad were impressive with the bat in the first few matches but were a little below their average in the later part of the campaign. However, our batsmen like Tarjinder Singh, Pallav Das, Sibsankar Roy and Amit Sinha played some impressive knocks. This is encouraging,” the ACA secretary said.
“Similarly in bowling, Arup Das performed along with Abu Nechim Ahmed, Arlen Konwar and Syed Mohammad,” he added.
“Besides, to finish fourth in a tally of nine after being at the bottom in a group of six last year is what we can call encouraging,” said Baruah.