Former Hong Kong captain Anshuman Rath to represent Odisha in domestic cricket

Bhubaneswar: Former Hong Kong skipper Anshuman Rath is all set to represent Odisha in the upcoming 2021-22 season of Indian domestic cricket.

The Odisha-born Rath became eligible to play for his home state after completing the mandatory year-long cooling-off period that now enables him to play as a local player under the BCCI’s ambit.

The 23-year-old batsman has played 18 One Day Internationals (ODIs) and 20 T20 internationals for Hong Kong, a country he moved to with his parents when he was 14. Rath initially vied for a place in Vidharba but the talks fell through and he was left out of their set-up.

“I had served a year’s cooling-off period, played club cricket in Nagpur and hoped to be picked for Vidarbha. But when things didn’t happen, I had to look for a new opportunity, and that is when Odisha happened,” Rath told ESPNcricinfo.

“I can speak Oriya, I was born in Bhubaneswar, so in many ways this was a logical next step for me,” he added.

Rath has been playing intra-club matches for Bhubaneswar-based Pragati and will play inter-district T20 matches next in a bid to impress Odisha selectors ahead of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy which is scheduled to begin in October later this year.

“First there will be an inter-district T20 tournament to finalise a squad for the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, then there will be an inter-district ODI tournament for the Vijay Hazare trophy and then another tournament to finalise Odisha’s Ranji Trophy team,” said Odisha Cricket Association CEO Subrat Kumar Behera to Sambad.

Rath hopes to get into Odisha’s Ranji Trophy squad to make his mark and be eligible to play in the Indian Premier League. Rath took Hong Kong to the 2018 Asia Cup as skipper and almost pulled off an upset in the group stage clash against India, scoring 73 while chasing a target of 286.  Hong Kong finished the game 259/8 after 50 overs, giving India a 26-run win.

The Odisha Cricket Association roped in former Indian opener and Mumbai stalwart Wassim Jaffer as their head coach last month as part of their ambitious [email protected] project.

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