The northeastern state of Assam is known better for its unmatched natural splendor and Assam tea than for the exploits of its cricketers. The strength of the Assam cricket team can be gauged from the fact that in the last few years it has featured primarily in the Plate division, or the lower strata, if you will, of the Ranji Trophy since the system was started in India. The zonal system was in force till the 2002-03 season and before that it used to play for the Eastern Zone. Over the years, the team has not been that successful in the Ranji Trophy.
However, it would be wrong to say that the team has been a complete failure at the first-class level. In the 2006-07 season, Assam was able to top the Plate group that it was a part of but was finally trumped in the semifinals by Odisha. This performance was fairly remarkable because, in the previous couple of years, the team was unable to win any match at the first-class level. Assam did go up to the Elite division in the 2009-10 season when it won the Plate Group again and then went on to be included in the higher level.
Assam, however, was not able to sustain this level of play and performed poorly to finish right at the fag end of its group in the Elite division in 2010-11 and was relegated to play in the Plate division from the next season onwards. Unfortunately, since then, the Assam team has not been able to come out of the rut in spite of having some good talent in its ranks.
Dheeraj Jadhav is one of the leading names of the Assam team. He is originally from Malegaon in Baramati, Maharashtra. He has previously played for Maharashtra as well as Mumbai Champs in the now defunct Indian Cricket League. He started off by being a middle-order batsman but soon changed his style to become a free-stroking opener and has since then been fairly successful.
He has also represented the India A team and was part of the test team during the 4th test of the 2004 India-Australia series. At present he has 5831 runs from 76 first class matches with an impressive average of 56.06 and 20 centuries. His highest score is an unbeaten 260. Jadhav is also among the cricketers to have played both the ICL and the IPL – he was a part of the Pune Warriors India squad in the 2011 season. He played English league cricket for Horwich RMI Cricket Club at Bolton in Northwest England from 2008-2010.
Jadhav was successful in England as well, scoring 939 runs in 15 innings with an average exceeding 85. During his time he also held the record for the highest score in an innings with a 164 not out against Bradshaw Cricket Club. Following are the other important members of the present Assam team:
- Sibsankar Roy
- Abu Nechim Ahmed
- Pritam Debnath
- Syed Mohammed
- Rajdeep Das
- Pritam Das