Mrunal Manmay Dash

Cuttack: Odisha has immense talent in Cricket. Especially the youths from interior districts who seldom get scope and opportunity to showcase their flair will get their due recognition this time, said Prabhanjan Mallik the Chief Selector of Orissa Cricket Association (OCA).

OTV's senior sports correspondent, Niranjan Reddy caught up with Mallik in Cuttack while he was on a talent scout mission for the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Cricket Trophy 2021 scheduled to be held from January 10-31.

"I will not discriminate between senior/junior or big cities and small town talents. I have heard people complaint in the past saying that cricket in Odisha happens only in Cuttack, Bhubaneswar and Rourkela. But I am glad that times are changing and players from smaller towns are giving big city players run for their money," said Mallik.

"When I was playing, there was no T20. Players used to practice on matting wickets. But now a days, OCA is providing them enough opportunity. Especially this year they are being provided with turfs and white balls to practice," he said.

Speaking about the talent hunt, Mallik said, "My focus will be on all-rounders. The player who can bat well and manage to complete his quota with the ball as well."

"T20 is all about mental and physical fitness. The high intensity game takes a lot of toll on one's mental health. So remaining fit is of prime importance for any aspiring cricketer who wants to prolong his/her career in this," Mallik advised.

Answering a question on when can Odisha expect to see its players donning blues, Mallik said, "The opportunities and facilities that the OCA is providing now, you never know, we can see an Odia player in the India team as early as this year too. Performance is key here. If one performs well nobody can stop him from getting into India team."

As per reports, Bangalore, Kolkata, Vadodara, Indore, Mumbai and Chennai have been chosen as the six venues which will stage the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy in a bio-secure bubble to ward of chances of players contracting the dreaded Coronavirus.

A total of 38 participating teams have been divided into five Elite groups of A, B, C, D and E. Odisha has been put in Group-B along with Bengal, Jharkhand, Assam, Hyderabad and Tamil Nadu.

It is worthwhile to mention here that, OCA Senior Men Inter District T-20 League has already started from 14th December 2020.

The OCA will scout best talents for the ensuing OCL T-20 League and also for the Syed Mushtaq Ali T-20 Championship from this event.

(Edited By Suryakant Jena)