#NewsBytesExclusive: Ex-HK skipper Anshuman Rath speaks on move to India
Former Hong Kong skipper Anshuman Rath made headlines after he decided to move to India for better cricketing opportunities. He has also expressed his interest in playing the Ranji Trophy. Interestingly, he also wants to play for Team India someday. In the same light, speaking exclusively to NewsBytes, Rath spoke on his career so far, about his role model, and his hometown of Bhubaneswar.
Limited opportunities in associate nation the reason behind India move
Opening up on his move to India, Rath said he has taken the decision keeping his future in mind. He said associate nations like Hong Kong can not provide cricketers with enough opportunities. "You can have a good go in associate cricket, but at the end of the day, it is not as financially viable and cricket is not a lot," said Rath.
I am proud to be an Indian: Rath
"I decided that I need to make a move somewhere, where there's a bit of system. Having an Indian passport helps, and I am proud to be an Indian. Getting in there and see how far I can go makes the most sense," added Rath.
Rath undecided regarding which state to play Ranji for
Following his move to India, Rath would be looking to play Ranji to get into the domestic circuit. However, he has still not decided for which state he would like to play for. Further, he has a one-year cooling-off period. He is focused on scoring runs in club cricket as of now, as he won't be able to play in Ranji before October 2020.
Rath honored to lead Hong Kong at international level
Speaking on his stint with Hong Kong's national team, Rath said that it was an honor and privilege to lead the side at international level. He also thanked them for providing him with great opportunities. Notably, he made his debut at 14 years of age. "Playing against the big boys at a young age really helped me become a tougher cricketer," recalled Rath.
I've always been loyal to the team giving opportunities: Rath
"I will miss playing for them [HK]. But, I've always been someone who's very loyal to a team that gives me the best opportunities. HK has provided me a great platform, and a little part of me would miss playing for them," Rath admitted.
Rath looking to play for India someday
Rath further said that he is definitely looking to play for Men In Blue someday. He even recalled the instance when he led HK against India in the 2018 Asia Cup and felt honored to play against them. "When the national anthem of India was being sung, I did feel very proud to be an Indian," Rath said.
Rath rates his innings against India as his favorite
Speaking on his favorite innings to date, Rath rated his knock of 73 against India in the 2018 Asia Cup as his best. The sheer pressure, besides India's bowling attack, made it Rath's favorite innings. "I thought like I had a job to do. Even though, I did not get past the line, scoring 73 against my home country was fabulous," Rath recalled.
Sangakkara is my role model: Rath
Talking about his role model, Rath has always been inspired by former Sri Lankan wicket-keeper batsman Kumar Sangakkara. He also got to share the stage with him, when they played in the Hong Kong T20 Blitz. "I love his batting and the way he is calm under pressure, and also his work ethics. He is a tremendous advocate for the game," opined Rath.
Rath looking forward to play in the IPL
Following Rath's move to India, he could be eligible to play in the IPL as a local player. Speaking on it, Rath said, "IPL is the biggest franchise tournament in the world. However, I don't expect to be picked because of the name, but because of performance. So, as long as I keep doing the right things, I am sure everything would work out."
I am a big fan of Dhoni
"I am a big fan of Dhoni. I really like Jadeja and Rahane as well. Deepak Hooda is someone I really like watching play, as he is a very talented smart cricketer. The likes of Iyer, Gill, and Shaw are amazing to watch," said Rath.
Rath loved playing backyard cricket in Bhubaneswar
Rath's family roots are from Bhubaneswar, and he said that while he used to visit the place regularly during his childhood days, commitments, later on, did not allow him to visit the city much. "I ran around in the garden, played a bit of backyard cricket with my grandma, dad, and my cousins. It' a very relaxing place," Rath recalled.
Young cricketers should enjoy the game: Rath
Rath said the young cricketers should know why they are playing the sport. "It [cricket] is something that we love and are passionate about. Just go out there and enjoy it, and make sure that you give yourself the best possible chance to make it big time. But, don't leave anything to chance," Rath concluded. We wish him the best for his new journey.