In a major decision taken last year, the Assam Cricket Association (ACA) decided to not field any outstation player in the Assam team which they believed would give more opportunities to the locals. Many welcomed this decision while there were others who termed it ‘disappointing’. Another notable fact being Assam’s best ever Ranji performance in 2015-16, where they reached the semi-finals, had valuable contributions from many outstation players like Arun Karthik, Syed Mohammad and Amit Verma.
Abiding by the guidelines, the Assam Cricket Association (ACA) announced the team for the 2018-19 season under the able leadership of Amit Sinha. A notable exclusion from the team was that of former India-19 speedstar Abu Nechim Ahmed who is a star player and has also played for Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL. Another disheartening news came when leading pacer Krishna Das announced his association with Goa Cricket Team for the 2018-19 season, thus ending his relation of 12 years with Assam cricket. As we write this, Assam defeated Goa in a home game where Krishna performed brilliantly and picked up 6 wickets for Goa, albeit in a losing cause.
The season began with a tame draw against Jharkhand in an away game which was followed by a convincing victory by 211 runs against Tripura. They lost the next one against Odisha and followed it up with a big win against Haryana by an innings and 35 runs. However, it has mostly gone downslide from there as Assam lost back to back matches against Rajasthan and Services. However, Arup Das’s exemplary performance against Goa where he picked up 9 wickets to win Assam a very tight game has brought back the chances of a next round progression.
Like the last few seasons, batting has been the major cause of worry this year as well. The season started well with notable contributions from the openers. The middle order too performed their roles well. Rishav Das and Pervez Aziz scored a 100+ opening stand in the match against Tripura which were good signs but soon things started to fade away. Gokul Sharma, Riyan Parag, Amit Sinha, there have been glimpses of brilliance from all, but none could really make it click as a team. The bowling has been relatively stronger with Arup Das, Ranjit Mali and Mukhtar Hussain looking in fine form. With 3 wins out of 7 matches, Assam is placed 4th in Elite Group C with 20 points and will need some serious changes in their game to rush ahead in the rest of the season.