Guwahati, July 4: The Nuruddin Ahmed senior inter-district cricket tournament will no longer be just an annual end of season event.
The tournament has been rescheduled from this year to be the season opener to help the players strengthen their nerves ahead of the Ranji Trophy matches.
The Assam Cricket Association (ACA) programme and fixtures sub-committee meeting here on June 15 stressed the fact that Assam players get very few matches before the onset of the Ranji season every year.
So they designed the annual calendar of events in such a way that the players could get maximum number of domestic matches before taking to the Ranji pitch.
Hence, the Nuruddin Trophy tournament elite and plate group matches will start by October 25 every year and be played simultaneously with the Ranji Trophy group league.
Moreover, the SP Barooah Trophy invitation two-day matches tournament, involving teams from outside the state, will also be held before the Ranji Trophy matches begin.
“The idea is to give maximum match exposure to the players before the Ranji Trophy tournament. This helps the players build their temperament for the national tournament,” ACA secretary Bikash Baruah said.
“We no longer design the preparation for the Ranji Trophy team this year onwards. We are asking the players to suggest whatever way they would love to prepare themselves and we will just co-ordinate the implementation of the scheme they prepare. We are also asking them to look for a coach and support staff of their choice and some of them are already in contact with coaches from outside the state,” Baruah added.
Similarly, the Nurul Amin Trophy limited-over one-day tournament — involving the eight quarter-finalists of Nuruddin Trophy elite group and finalists of the plate group tournaments —will be organised just ahead of the Vijay Hazare Trophy limited-over national tournament to condition the players for the national event, Baruah said.
According to the ACA, the players would get up to 30 matches in all before they take the field in the national events.
The lack of temperament to play a long innings and lack of match practice owing to a long rainy season in the state ahead of the national events has plagued the Assam team’s performance for nearly a decade.
The ACA has also taken several initiatives to strengthen the reserve bench for the seasons ahead by launching talent-hunting schemes this year.
With the new state-of-the-art cricket stadium at Barsapara ground here ready to host domestic tournaments almost throughout the year, the ACA will be able to give maximum opportunities to the players to play in the ongoing off-season this year onwards. The SP Barooah tournament could be organised in the shape of a national event involving more outstation teams in the season ahead, ACA insiders felt.
The SP Barooah Trophy and the Nurul Amin Trophy tournaments remained unorganised for the last few years because of a dearth of proper grounds in the state during the long rainy season.