They surged into the ground moments after R. Srinivasan pulled off-spinner Amol Shinde for the winning runs. The Combined Districts’ cricketers realised history had been made.

The Districts achieved its maiden success in the Buchi Babu tournament here on Saturday. The K.B. Arun Karthick-led side, chasing 155, defeated Hyderabad XI by seven wickets in the first session of the second and final day at Chepauk.

Left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha dismissed opener Arun Karthick for a well-made 68 (77b, 7x4, 1x6) – the batsman was picked up at silly point — and combined with ‘keeper Abhinav Kumar to consume X. Thalaivan Sargunam (24).

Bowling hero S. Suresh Kumar fell early when the ball deflected to the ‘keeper from the fielder at short-leg — off-spinner Vishal Sharma was the bowler, but R. Srinivasan (31 not out) and K. Sriram (20 not out) ensured that the Districts romped home.

Chief Guest and chairman of the National and State selection panel, Krishnamachai Srikkanth said the cricketers from the districts had come a long way.

“There was a time when we used to defeat the Districts in a day. They have now grown in belief. And they have a strong presence in the State squad. Cricket has spread to the smaller towns in India and there is plenty of talent in these parts,” he said.

Talking about the Buchi Babu tournament he said: “I remember that it was an innings in the Buchi Babu competition that enabled me make the State side. It is a very important competition for those making the transition from league cricket to first class cricket. Even for the established cricketers, it is a forerunner for the season ahead. I remember cricketers like Sunil Gavaskar, Sandeep Patil and Ravi Shastri wanting to play in the Buchi Babu tournament.”

Hyderabad coach Venkatapathy Raju said the Districts was the best team in the competition.

“They were good in all the departments. They are naturally athletic and fielded brilliantly. They were also very aggressive on the field,” he added.

About his own team’s performance, Raju said: “we made it to the final here after a long time, which is creditable. But we need to be more consistent with our batting.”

Districts captain Arun Karthick, amidst rousing victory celebrations in the dressing room, said: “as you can see, we are a very united bunch. We back each other. Our team-spirit is the key,” he said.

The Districts won Rs.One lakh in prize money. Hyderabad took home Rs.50,000.

S. Ganesan, TNCA vice-president, proposed a vote of thanks.

The scores (final): Hyderabad XI 154 lost to Combined Districts 156 for three in 38.3 overs (K.B. Arun Karthick 68).

Keywords: Buchi Babu

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