Tribune News Service
Shimla, December 26
Himachal Pradesh are no longer minnows in domestic cricket. The team shed the tag it had been carrying for decades in style, thumping Tamil Nadu, arguably the country’s best limited-overs team currently, to win Vijay Hazare Trophy and become the 50-over national champion.
No longer minnows
It’s not easy to beat a team like Tamil Nadu which has several India and IPL stars. In comparison, there’s not a single player from this team in the IPL. — Rajeev Nayyar, Former Captain
HP shocked TN in the final of the country’s premier 50-over tournament in Jaipur on Sunday, with Shubham Arora leading the way with an unbeaten 136. “It’s a massive achievement, can’t be described in words,” said Shakti Singh, a former HP pace bowler. “A huge mental barrier has been broken. Never again will players from the state think they can’t win big games and trophies. The players will now come with a different approach and attitude.”
To the casual observer, the victory may appear a stroke of luck. For those who know HP cricket inside out, it is a reflection of serious efforts being made at the grassroots level to produce good cricketers.
“A lot of work has been done in terms of providing world-class facilities, good coaches, physios, etc., to the players. Those efforts have started yielding results now,” said Virender Sharma, a former Himachal Pradesh skipper and an international umpire.
Shakti Singh couldn’t agree more. “The cricket association upgraded facilities at small grounds across the state. Every district has at least one academy where talented players can get admission. It has hired qualified coaches at all levels,” he pointed out.