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Radiant Info T20 Cricket 2010: New England Pioneers - Will youth power and Indian Test cricketer Debasis Mohanty swing it their way?
Last year, New England Pioneers relied on the experience of Fazal Alam, Timmy Thomas, Sharaz Baksh and Lakhram Sanichar to propel their team into the Semis. What they were missing was some sting in their bowling and some spring in their fielding. The new look New England team have addressed these gaps, and how!?
For 2010, the Pioneers mantra is "more power to the youth!" Ten of the 14 members of the squad are under-25. They topped it off with the experience of Fazal, Sharaz and Timmy. And if that wasn't enough, they spiked up the octane level some more. The tournament's biggest x-factor - the former Indian Test and ODI cricketer Debasis Mohanty is part of the New England Pioneers!
Here is a sneak preview of the New England Pioneers:
Debasis "Debashish" Mohanty (34) - It takes extra-ordinary merit for somebody like Debasis of Orissa or Dhoni of Jharkhand to break into the Indian team. Coming from a weaker Ranji state, Debasis was noticed for his swing bowling despite domestic conditions not being conducive to his art!
Making his Test debut for India in 1997, Mohanty got a four-wicket haul in his very first match against Sri Lanka - the Matara Marauder Sanat Jayasuriya was his first scalp. Later that year, playing in his first ODI in the Sahara Cup in Toronto, Debasis Mohanty joined the rare club of ODI bowlers to get a wicket off the very first over when he dismissed Saeed Anwar off the fifth ball!
Debasis played 45 ODIs taking 57 wickets at a 29.15 average. In the 1999 World Cup, he played a key role in favorable English conditions finishing as the second highest wicket-taker for India. At the peak of his international career, he was among the ICC Top 20 in ODI rankings.
Mohanty continued his exploits in India's first class competition where his tally of 405 wickets includes a perfect-10 for 46 in a 2001 Duleep Trophy match against South Zone. In doing so, he became the third Indian bowler to get a ten-wicket haul in first-class cricket.
Mohanty's splendid bowling effort helped Orissa win the East Zone Vijay Hazare Trophy ahead of favorites Bengal in February 2010. He was the leading wicket-taker within his zone in the zonal ODI competition. Mohanty captained the East Zone side in the 2010 Deodhar Trophy - the List A competition in Indian domestic cricket before arriving in Boston at the invitation of the MSCL President Manas Sahu, where he currently plays for the Boston Gymkhana Sports Club.
Fazal Alam (35) - The captain of Commonwealth CC, Massachusetts State Cricket League and North East regional teams is a familiar name to cricket fans across USA. Consistently among the region's best cricketers, Fazal continues to lead the league in batting (379 at a 54.14 average) and bowling (15 wickets at a 14.6 average) in 2010.
In India, Fazal played U-25 for Hyderabad and represented Osmania University as well as South Zone Universities in the Vizzy Trophy.
Fazal played for Argonauts in the 2008 edition of the Radiant Info T20 before joining New England Pioneers in 2009 in the new format of the tournament. He was the second most impactful player in 2009 with an Impact Index of 5.7 and lead the charge as he took his deflated team into the semi-finals before losing to the formidable Global Challengers.
Sharaz Baksh (29) - Sharaz, a former Guyana U-19 cricketer, has been part of of the New England side for two years. In 2008, Sharaz scored a record 708 runs in the Massachusetts State Cricket League including seven 50s and 1 century from just 12 matches. He then followed that up with 104 runs from his 4 appearances in the first edition of the Radiant Info T20 tournament. In 2009, he slipped down a few ranks on the MSCL best batsmen. But in 2010, Sharaz has returned to his usual place on top of the leaderboard where his total from eleven innings is 497 at an average of 62.12. Expect some fireworks from Sharaz at this year's Radiant Info T20.
Lakhram Sanichar (23) - Lakhram's reputation as a fiery hitter in the Massachusetts league preceded his appearance at the Radiant Info T20 2009. Lakhram did not play in the first match against the Gentlemen of Philadelphia. Then came the must-win match against the Daredevils. Batting first, the NJ team put up 158 on the back of some spectacular fireworks by Kiran Patel. When NJ finished with 158, both NJ and Philadelphia appeared confident of a berth in the semis ahead of New England. In fact, one of New England's own players left the ground disillusioned after he was given out LBW with the score reading 2 for 2!
But Fazal and Lakhram had other plans! While Fazal's patient knock of 46 brought stability, Lakhram's cameo of 45 runs from 19 balls changed the course of the match! Lakhram's quickfire essay featured 2 fours and 4 sixes! It was abundantly clear that he was trying to land the balls on the South-bound Garden State Parkway! With that entertaining knock, he despatched Philadelphia down the parkway.
This year, the New England side features several U19 players! According to New England manager, Leighton Greenidge, the U19 cricketer Jonathan Bonner had a successful swing-through Jamaica. Upon his return, he got 73 runs in the two completed matches in the recently concluded U-19 Eastern Conference. His team-mate and captain of the North East U19 side, Chevon McLean, scored 34 in North East's victorious campaign against Atlantic Region.
A more complete roster will be published on RadiantInfoT20.com in the coming days.