Kiran More, a member of the Indian Cricket League (ICL) board, sounded happy that most of the 60-odd players they released returned to Ranji Trophy. That’s where his happiness might end because only a few made an impression in the country’s most important first-class tournament this season.
None of the ex-ICL players figure in the list of top-30 batsmen in the Elite Division. There are just two bowlers from the League who commanded some respect in the top tier of the Ranji Trophy. And of the mere six who made it to their zonal sides for the Duleep Trophy, just two are in the playing XI.
More though said he is satisfied. “It’s good to see them back playing Ranji Trophy. That’s what we wanted…that they are welcomed back where they belonged to. Except for a few who opted out, most of them made it back,” the former chairman of selectors told HT.
Their performance though has been anything but glowing. In the Elite Division, just Love Ablish of Punjab and Hyderabad’s Alfred Absolem performed to the level they used to before being lured away by ICL money. Though they made it to the North and South Zone squads, none of them were selected in the XI.
The batsmen fared even worse. There were some moderate efforts from Anirudh Singh (317 runs at 52.83) and Ambati Rayudu (473 at 43.00) but they were not enough to help Hyderabad avoid relegation from the Elite Division. The Bengal trio of Avishek Jhunjhunwala (138 at 38.50), Rohan Gavaskar (109 at 36.33) and Deep Dasgupta (230 at 28.75) too didn’t fare better.
Things were marginally better in the Plate Division where former Maharashtra opener Dhiraj Jadhav (603 at 86.14) and Abu Nechim (26 wickets at 16.53), both representing Assam, finished second in the list of run scorers and wicket-takers. None, however, did well in Duleep Trophy.