Former Hong Kong captain Anshuman Rath will be representing Odisha in India’s upcoming domestic cricket season. Rath, 23, played 18 ODIs and 20 T20Is for Hong Kong between 2014 and 2018.
Having served a one-year cooling-off period, he can now be part of India’s domestic circuit as a local player. The youngster though was hoping to get a place in Vidarbha’s squad but when the plan didn’t work out, he looked for options elsewhere.
“I had served a year’s cooling-off period, played club cricket in Nagpur and hoped to be picked for Vidarbha. But when things didn’t happen, I had to look for a new opportunity, and that is when Odisha happened," Rath told ESPNcricinfo.
“I can speak Oriya, I was born in Bhubaneswar, so in many ways this was a logical next step for me," he added.
Rath scored 828 runs in ODIs including a century, seven fifties and also took 14 wickers. In T20Is, he hit 321 runs and took five wickets.
He was Hong Kong’s captain during the 2018 Asia Cup in the UAE where they came agonizingly close to beating India in a Group A match.
“The Orissa Cricket Association (OCA) has been warm and players are very friendly. I am looking forward to representing Orissa this year," he told Cricbuzz.
On his decision why he decided to make the switch, Rath cited desire to get out of his comfort zone for a challenging environment.
“I wanted to get out of my comfort zone, I think in Hong Kong I was very comfortable. I really wanted to play in a challenging environment that is very professional and what better place than India for that," Rath said.
Rath hopes to represent Odisha in Ranji Trophy and harbors dream of playing Test cricket one day. “I am grateful to Hong Kong Cricket for the opportunities but I wanted to push myself. Associate cricket has its limitation, the facilities, exposure and resources are limited. I’ve soon realised that I cannot achieve my goal of playing Test cricket by being in Hong Kong. That is why I have moved to India. Playing in the country of my parents is also a matter pride for me," he said.