Gurinder Singh in action during the Ranji Trophy match against Jammu and Kashmir    Prakash Parsekar
Gurinder Singh in action during the Ranji Trophy match against Jammu and Kashmir Prakash Parsekar

Six matches, 390 runs at 65 and 23 wickets at 32.78; the numbers are impressive. They belong to Gurinder Singh, Tripura’s Punjab import in this Ranji season. Punjab has provided India with many sporting talents and the northeast state of Tripura recently had its moment under the sun after Dipa Karmakar made headlines with her produnova. Adding to the state’s laurels, the side managed to defeat Services in their second game this Ranji season. The 24-year-old Punjabi lad spun them to a win with a four-for. It was only his second First-Class game. He continued to excel for his side at Bandra Kurla Complex and almost helped Tripura bag three points. Ranji Trophy 2016-17 Points Table & team standings.

Jammu & Kashmir had posted 315 and Gurinder with his left-arm spin dismissed skipper Parvez Rasool. In reply, Tripura were 176 for 6 before Gurinder arrived at the crease. He marshalled the tail well and remained unbeaten on 84. Tripura fell 18 runs short of J&K’s first innings score. With little more support from the tail, he would have reached his hundred and Tripura would have got the lead. This knock kept the contest alive. Also, Gurinder s came at an impressive strike rate of 75.67.

Tripura escaped a defeat and J&K managed three points but Gurinder is certainly enjoying his stint in domestic cricket.

“This is just process I am working and lets see once the tournament gets over. Lets see where we stand and this is just you know the way I prepared. I am just giving my 100 percent and its going good and I am happy.”

Gurinder is not a usual name you would hear on the streets of Agartala, so how did the Punjabi talent land in the east. Having played for Punjab in List A and T20, Gurinder ended up playing First-Class cricket for Tripura and it was because of the stiff competition in Punjab.

For any player 4-day cricket is very important. I was playing T20 and One-Days from Punjab and unfortunately I was not getting chance for 4 days. So, I have to play Ranji Trophy for me and my future. It is necessary for every player, so that is the reason, Gurinder told CricketCountry.

The youngster hails from a sporting family so being an athlete runs in his blood. The start to his sporting journey was simple and he did not have to look beyond the four walls for inspiration.

My father used to play football, my grandfather also they were in volley ball, so I belongs to a very sporting family. So it s like, I had to play something and initially I played cricket, he added.Last month, his maiden hundred helped Tripura escape a defeat against Goa and in turn bag three points. Tripura had managed a 14-run first innings lead but Goan spinner Shadab Jakati dug inroads as the former crumbled to 128 for 7 in the second innings when Gurinder walked out. He added 161 for the eighth wicket with Rajat Dey and also brought up his hundred in the process.

A batting average of 65 might give one the illusion that he is an upcoming batting all-rounder but the youngster cleared the air.

I am an all rounder who bowls first, Gurinder clarified.

So how is it for a player of a far-off state to culturally get acclimatised and adopt a very contrasting environment. Gurinder calls the Tripura team ‘a family’.

I had a 10 days national camp with captain Manisankar Moorasingh and Yashpal Singh. I played with him [Yashpal] in Delhi as well. So, I actually have a good bonding with the players and we are a collective team, all are giving 100 percent on the ground and it is like a family, Gurinder signed off.

Tripura is currently at seventh position in the Group C points table. In the upcoming games, the not-so-popular Ranji side will bank on Gurinder’s all-round abilities.

(Abhishek Kumar is a cricket devotee currently staffing with CricLife and CricketCountry.com. He can be followed at @abhik2593)