- 6 players from the Bihar Cricket team have been selected in the final draw of the IPL auction list
- This is a refreshing change as state’s cricket has been affected by politics
- This is expected to stop the migration of talented Bihari cricketers to neighbouring states
If any aspect of life represents Lalu Era Jungle Raj to the people outside Bihar, then it is Cricket in the state. But things are changing for good with six Bihari cricketers in IPL despite dead infrastructure in state cricket.
6 Bihari players on IPL auction list
This year’s IPL auction was unique for Bihar. For the very first time, half a dozen cricketers of state were up for grabs by IPL franchise owners. Out of these six, 5 cricketers have been born and brought up in Bihar while one of them originally belongs to Jharkhand, but ploys his trade for the Bihar Cricket team.
Anunay Singh (29), the oldest of the bunch is from Vaishali, a small district midway between megacities of Muzaffarpur and Patna, while Anuj Raj (21), the youngest of them belongs to Gopalganj. Abhijeet Saket (26) from Patna, Lakhan Raja (27) from Saran and Vipul Krishna (20) from Sitamarhi are other Bihar born cricketers. Pratyush Singh (27) is from Hazaribagh in Jharkhand but has been representing Bihar in first-class and T20 cricket tournaments.
Rakesh Kumar Tiwari, president of Bihar Cricket Association, said, “I am hopeful that at least three of them will be selected by IPL franchises due to their strong performances in first-class cricket and interstate T20 tournaments last year,”
Bihar born Ishan grabs second-best deal in IPL history
Meanwhile, Anunay Singh has already been bought by Rajasthan Royals, while all other players representing Bihar are expected to be on the reserve list of teams.
On the other hand, Bihar born Ishan Kishan has turned out to be the second most expensive Indian player in IPL history. Mukesh Ambani’s Mumbai Indians spent 15.25 crore on pocket rocket Kishan. Akashdeep, Shahbaz Nadeem and Anukul Rai are some of the other Bihar based names who will be playing in the 2022 edition of the world’s largest cricket league.
Politics engulfed Bihar Cricket
It’s not that Bihar cricket lacks talent. Originally belonging to Bihar, I can assert with a reasonable degree of certainty that the state houses one of the best Yorker specialists in the country. The quality of batting is so much high that bowlers do not have a better option than hitting the toes.
However, why do they don’t get to the top? in the biography of M S Dhoni, when the same question had erupted, a protagonist had replied, “We love politics more than cricket”
Bifurcation of state-led to politics in Cricket
This dialogue sums up the last two decades of Bihar cricket. Bihar had an affiliated Ranji team from 1936 to 2004. However, when Bihar was bifurcated into Bihar and Jharkhand, the sport in the state nosedived due to politics.
As the state got bifurcated, so did the cricket association. Bihar’s cricket was now being handled by Lalu Yadav led Bihar Cricket Association (BCA). However, Jagmohan Dalmiya refused to provide legitimacy to Lalu led Association.
After the entry of Lalu, his political rivals soon jumped on the bandwagon. In opposition to Lalu-led BCA, former cricketer Kirti Azad started a new cricket association called the Association of Bihar Cricket (ABC). Further, another association called the Cricket Association of Bihar (CAB) was formed, with Shekhar Sinha as chief and Aditya Verma as Secretary.
Read more: Kirti Azad Vs Arun Jaitley: Can Trojan horse unmask Behroopiya?
This political upmanship hurt Bihari cricketers most. In 2008, BCCI had accepted that it would be providing associate membership to Lalu’s faction. However, the politics led to the cancellation of membership as well.
Finally, after nearly two decades of struggles on every front, BCCI asked BCA (now led by BJP politicians) to send their teams for the 2018-19 Ranji tournament. Up until then, cricket had been so much hit that Bihar had to call in out of favour Pragyan Ojha to captain their team in the tournament.
Up until now, Bihari cricketers like Ishan Kishan, Saurav Tiwari, Saba Karim etc have been fulfilling their passions in neighbouring states like Jharkhand and West Bengal. This year’s IPL auction list is expected to change the scenarios for talented cricketers in Bihar.