Hit­ting the ground run­ning

Sportstar - - GROUND REPORT PUDUCHERRY - HARI KISHORE M

The abun­dance of league and ju­nior cricket in Puducherry has gone a long way in en­sur­ing that the Union Ter­ri­tory is one of the strong­est new teams.

Puducherry has pulled off a big up­set much be­fore In­dia’s premier do­mes­tic cricket tour­na­ment even be­gins. The team shocked 41­time Ranji Tro­phy cham­pion Mum­bai in the semi­fi­nals of the Sir Vizzy Tro­phy, held in Viziana­garam in Andhra Pradesh in late Au­gust and early Septem­ber. But then again, the Union Ter­ri­tory — with dis­tricts spread across three states Tamil Nadu (Puducherry, Karaikal), Andhra Pradesh (Yanam) and Ker­ala (Mahe) — has more than 60 clubs and acad­e­mies par­tic­i­pat­ing in league cricket. That is am­ple am­mu­ni­tion to be­gin its maiden do­mes­tic cam­paign.

“...apart from the fact that we did well in the Vizzy Tro­phy, one more huge mo­ti­vat­ing fac­tor is that if we man­age to top the Plate divi­sion, we get to play the big­wigs in the Elite Group C cat­e­gory next year. That is our tar­get,” said head coach Aav­ishkar Salvi. “We need to prove that we be­long to the big stage and we are tak­ing steps in the right di­rec­tion. Although get­ting pro­moted is the ul­ti­mate goal, we are keen on per­form­ing well in the first sea­son.”

The abun­dance of league and ju­nior cricket in Puducherry has gone a long way in en­sur­ing that the Union Ter­ri­tory is one of the strong­est new teams — which will play in the Plate divi­sion, the lower rung of the Ranji Tro­phy — this sea­son. Puducherry dis­trict has about 35 clubs and acad­e­mies, Karaikal has 20, and Yanam and Mahe have 10 each.

“We or­gan­ise a lot of in­ter­school and in­ter­col­lege com­pe­ti­tions. Apart from that, we also have a ru­ral de­vel­op­ment scheme where we con­duct grass­roots train­ing pro­grammes and en­able the play­ers to

S. S. KU­MAR

A chance to shine: The Puducherry team will play its home games at the Siechem Cricket Ground.

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