Sikkim cricketer in century club
Ashish Thapa created cricketing history in football-loving Sikkim by becoming the first to score a century in first class cricket in a Ranji Trophy game against Bihar at the iconic Eden Gardens in Calcutta on Sunday.
Ashish betters Nilesh Lamichaney’s feat who had hit a hundred in a List A game in 2018.
Cricket in Sikkim is an import from the neighbouring hills of Darjeeling and Kalimpong where students from the erstwhile independent kingdom studied in what was then an educational hub for not just the mountain folks but also for eastern India. The babaloks of those schools took cricket to Sikkim and after many years of trying, the state has a centurian in Ashish.
“I am happy to score a century in first class cricket,” Ashish told The Telegraph from Calcutta. The 28-year-old wicket keeper-batsman has been representing Sikkim in various age group tournaments since 2004.
The Sikkim Cricket Association was granted full membership of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in 2018 following a directive by the Supreme Court of India-appointed panel which has enabled the state to participate in premier tournaments like the Ranji Tropy.
In the four-day game that concluded on Sunday, Ashish played second fiddle to Kranthi Kumar, a guest player who scored a mammoth 287 to gain the first innings lead. According to BCCI rules, a state is allowed to field three outstation players in a match.
“I started playing cricket in my neighbourhood in Shayari (in Gangtok)). I have been representing Sikkim in all age group tournaments for a long time and have been a member of the Ranji team since 2018,” said Ashish.
Lobzang G. Tenzing, the president of the SICA, said he was delighted with the performances of Ashish and Kranti.
“My special congratulations to Ashish Thapa (for) being the first Ranji centurion from Sikkim. My compliments to our guest player Kranti Kumar for showing his true class,” he said.