The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Rajput happy but guarded

Guwahati, Nov. 3: Assam’s first outstation Ranji Trophy coach Lalchand Rajput was today cautious about the team’s prospects in the 15-team elite group but said it would do “reasonably” well.

“I am happy with the team. This is the best possible talent available at the moment. The main strength of the present team is that it can bat till number nine due to the presence of several all-rounders,” the former test cricketer and NCA batting coach said, when asked about the team announced today.

Rajput, who has entered into a three-year coaching assignment with the Assam Cricket Association, however, was guarded when talking about the team’s prospects. “I know expectations are high but it will be difficult to say where we will finish in the 15-team field. Every match will be tough, every contribution valuable. All I can say at the moment is that it will do reasonably well,” he said.

On the inclusion of several outstation players in the team, the former Mumbai coach observed, “From my own experience as a player in the early Nineties, this cannot be helped if the ACA wants to build an all-Assam team and ensure its stay in the elite group. The home-grown players are undoubtedly very talented but they lack the temperament to succeed. This they can achieve by playing along players from outside the state like Karnataka, Mumbai, Tamil Nadu, Delhi and the like. At the moment we have the nucleus of a good side.”

In the 12 matches he played for Assam, Rajput had scored 1,135 runs with a world-record second wicket partnership with Zaheer Iqbal Alam against Tripura in the 1991-92 season.

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