Srinagar, Jan 8: In a major surprise, J&K Cricket Association (JKCA) on Saturday made two changes in the J&K Ranji Trophy squad with pacer Mohammad Tahir being dropped only after one match.
The J&K Ranji Trophy team has performed miserably in the prestigious tournament this season. They have suffered big defeats in the three matches but were able to win one thanks to a magical spell by Abid Mushtaq against Vidarbha. Overall the performance of the side in the absence of Parvez Rasool, and Abdul Samad has been below par and has forced JKCA to take knee-jerk reactions.
Initially, after suffering two back-to-back defeats in the first two matches, selectors dropped non-performing captain Shubham Pundir from the team and appointed senior batter Shubham Khajuria as skipper.
Now after another set of two matches in which the team has won one match and suffered inning defeat in the second, selectors have made two huge changes which has raised many questions.
For the upcoming match against Punjab, JKCA dropped opener Suryansh Raina and pacer Mohammad Tahir from the squad. They have been replaced by another left-hander Abhinav Puri and an all-rounder Abdul Samad.
While it was expected that Samad will make a return to the squad after missing earlier matches due to injury, the other two changes have come out as a total surprise.
Abhinav Puri, who played his only Ranji Trophy match back in 2015 has replaced Suryansh Raina. Suryansh had the second-best average (20.66) among all the J&K batters with 124 runs in 3 matches to his name during this season.
Mohammad Tahir who made his debut during the last match and bowled in only one inning has also been dropped. In his place selectors have included Samad who is a batting all-rounder.
The surprising changes and dropping out of Tahir and Raina from the squad have not gone well with the cricket fraternity who have lashed out at JKCA.
“This is a total surprise as you are dropping an emerging pacer just after one match in which he was able to bowl during only one inning as J&K suffered inning defeat, thanks to batting failure. What message you are sending to our players and what it will do to the confidence of this bowler,” said a former cricketer of J&K.
“Teams made on paper, not on the ground. Illogical changes,” said veteran Sports Journalist Sajid Hamid while reacting to the change in the J&K Ranji Trophy squad.
While another former cricketer welcomed the return of Abdul Samad, he lashed out at JKCA for treating Raina and Tahir unfairly.
“Samad’s return is welcome as Team has missed him badly. With Parvez not being included in the team due to unknown reasons, the team needed Samad. However, there is no logic in dropping your second-best run-getter in a team that is failing in the batting department. You are bringing a player who hasn’t played at this level for 8 years to replace him,” said another former player.
Meanwhile, J&K is scheduled to take on Punjab in the next match at Mohali on January 10.