Guwahati, Dec. 31: The Assam Cricket Association (ACA) has proposed a planned approach to prepare the state squads for the next season after a dismal season in the BCCI age-group tournaments with a poor bench strength.
Emulating some of the leading cricket-playing states in the country, the ACA has decided to chalk out a detailed plan to groom the probables, giving them maximum match playing opportunity throughout the year.
Disclosing this to The Telegraph, ACA secretary Bikash Baruah said, "We were let down by poor match temperament of the players and a poor bench strength. We will have to emulate some of the better cricket playing states in the off-season grooming programme which I propose to implement in the year ahead.
"Our think tank has suggested that we select at least 25 probables in every age group at the earliest and groom them in fitness as well as building match temperament during the off-season. We will send them on exposure tours to different parts of the country to participate in tournaments as well as arranged multi-day matches so that the players get maximum opportunity to play matches," he said.
Baruah, however, said the proposal would be subject to approval of the governing body.
"We tried off-season grooming in the last few seasons, but we could not do much except fitness drills and indoor practice because of the weather conditions in our state. The long rainy season has always been an impediment in the grooming season. Therefore, it will be better to send the probables out of the state for match practice without which we cannot expect our players to improve their temperament," the ACA secretary said.
Cricket experts prescribe at least 40 multi-day matches for any batsman in the off-season to build the temperament for playing long innings in the BCCI tournaments.
The Assam A team finished third with 11 points in the C.K. Nayudu Trophy plate group B league while the state under-16 side finished at the bottom of the East Zone tally with only six points in Vijay Merchant Trophy. In Cooch Behar Trophy under-19 pate group A, Assam are placed fifth with only 10 points in a group of six.
The Ranji team also disappointed the cricket buffs back home conceding a 15-run first innings lead to hosts Goa in their last group C league match at Povorim in Goa today. Assam were almost in sight of a first innings lead, which could have helped the side to be in contention for a knockouts berth, but lost four quick wickets, including three tailenders, to be all out for 366 this afternoon.
Dismal batting has been a perennial hitch as far as Assam is concerned in the last half-a-decade.
Barring Tarjinder Singh, Pallav Das, Sibsankar Roy, Amit Sinha, Sunzow Brahma, Wasiqur Rahman and Kunal Saikia, others could hardly come up with an impressive knock in any of the tournaments in the season, which is going to be over for Assam tomorrow.
The bench strength was also so poor that the selectors had to name unfit and incompetent players in different squads for the namesake.