Former Hong Kong batsman Anshuman Rath in line to represent Odisha in domestic season

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Former Hong Kong batsman Anshuman Rath, who moved to India in 2019 and registered with Vidarbha, has shifted base to Odisha. 

The left-handed batsman served the cooling-off period in Nagpur and played in local tournaments. When opportunities looked grim, he moved to Bhubaneswar to reunite with family. As an Odia boy, Rath stands a chance to represent Odisha as a local player. He was part of the camp headed by new coach Wasim Jaffer.

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“I am in Odisha, and I will try to represent them. I am back home after things didn’t work out in Nagpur. I am expecting to hear from the Odisha Cricket Association (OCA) in due course. Since it is my home state, there should not be an issue,” Rath told Sportstar on Friday.

Since Rath has only played international cricket and leagues such as the Global T20 Canada, he wants to taste domestic cricket in India to toughen up as a batsman. “I have not played any domestic cricket in India. I have to start playing and getting my name cemented in the domestic circuit.” 

Around 30-odd players were part of the pre-season camp headed by Jaffer. “It felt good to know the players, and being an Odia myself, it was nice to train right next to the Barabati Stadium. And having a coach with 20,000 domestic runs is not exactly the worst thing in the world.”

Rath returned to his home state earlier this year. “I received a lot of love from the OCA. Representing your home state is something else. It is a decision that kind of made sense,” added Rath, who played a few club games in April in Odisha before the second wave of COVID-19.

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OCA secretary Sanjay Behera confirmed that Rath has the backing of Jaffer. And the southpaw will be selected for the season if he performs in the local Super League — starting in the third week of August — in all three formats. “Though he has played for Hong Kong, he is clear to play domestic here since his father’s house is in Bhubaneswar. All our Ranji players participate in the Super League. He has to perform there in both red and white-ball cricket to be in the reckoning,” he said.

Behera is hopeful of Rath’s selection going by his overseas experience and talent. And OCA’s vision is to include all local players and no outstation candidates.

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