First tribal player in state Ranji squad - Stylish middle-order batsman eyes place in playing XI for January 5-8 match

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By Our Correspondent
  • Published 2.01.15

Prakash Kumar Munda (in pix) is a young middle-order batsman, who has performed well this season. It is the right time to induct him in the senior squad Rajesh Verma,JSCA secretary

It took around 14 years for a tribal to find a berth in the Ranji Trophy squad representing Jharkhand, a state that was essentially formed to provide better opportunities to indigenous people. But, as the maxim goes: it's better late than never.

Promising middle-order batsman Prakash Kumar Munda was incorporated in the Jharkhand squad ahead of the Group-C tie against Kerala in Dhanbad between December 28 and 31.

Though Munda did not feature in the playing XI for the match that ended in a draw, sources said the stylish batsman might make the cut in the next match against Andhra at Vizianagaram beginning from January 5.

The Jharkhand State Cricket Association (JSCA) has picked Munda as a member of the 15-member team in place of veteran batsman Manish Vardhan, along with Bokaro wicketkeeper Sumit Kumar, who has replaced Subroto Ghosh.

JSCA secretary Rajesh Verma said Munda was the first tribal cricketer from Jharkhand to secure a berth in the Ranji squad.

"He (Munda) is a young middle-order batsman, who has performed well in the Col CK Nayudu Trophy (Under-23) tournament this season. It is the right time to induct him in the senior squad," he added.

Echoing Verma, former JSCA vice-president B.N. Singh said no tribal cricketer from Bihar and Jharkhand had ever been selected for the Ranji matches. "I have not come across any tribal cricketer getting a Ranji slot. They have played at the junior level only," Singh, also a former Bihar Cricket Association secretary, added.

Munda (22), who hails from Ranchi and works with the railways in Dhanbad, earlier already represented the state at Under-16, Under-19 and Under-23 tournaments.

The youngster scored a brilliant match-saving 158 versus Vidarbha and also struck a useful 53 in Jharkhand's victory over Assam in the ongoing season.

In the ongoing Ranji Trophy tournament, Jharkhand has five points from three matches against Assam, Tripura and Kerala. But for a timely double century by Ishank Jaggi, Jharkhand would have lost the matchagainst Tripura in Dhanbad.

Led by Saurabh Tiwary, other members in the squad comprise Ishank Jaggi, Rameez Nemat, Ishan Kishan, Virat Singh, Kumar Deobrat, Rituraj Singh, Ajay Yadav, Shahbaz Nadeem, Samar Quadri, Ashish Kumar, Sunny Gupta and Kaushal Singh.

With only three days to go for Jharkhand's next outing, the people of the state are waiting in anticipation to see the first tribal player to take to the pitch.