Riding high on emotions
Meghalaya is far better prepared for the coming domestic cricket season than its neighbours, but it is the emotion of finally representing their state that is driving the team.
elcome to the Scotland of the East,” exhorts a huge billboard as you enter Shillong. Meghalaya’s capital is picturesque and has an oldworld charm. The buildings and the architecture are throwbacks to the British era. And the city’s fondness for sport is evident on the drive to the city centre — the Polo Market.
The market is a bustling area with iconic landmarks, with the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium complex right in the centre. Huge floodlights loom past on the drive from the main gate of the spacious facility, a regular venue for football that hosts Ileague club Shillong Lajong’s home games.
Youngsters sweat it out on the green turf of the football arena, waiting for their chance to play cricket at the highest domestic level. The stadium is not only the home of the Meghalaya Cricket Association, but also all cricketing activity in the state.
The ground regularly hosts juniorlevel cricket matches, but its association with the Ranji Trophy has been brief — restricted, in fact, to just one match between Assam and United Provinces all the way back in 194■. Seventy years hence, the cricket stadium is being readied for Meghalaya’s foray into the