Rid­ing high on emo­tions

Sportstar - - GROUND REPORT MEGHALAYA - SHAYAN ACHARYA

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

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