Cooch Behar Trophy: The Turning Point Of Under 19 Cricketer’s Career

Under 19 cricket aspirants hold high regard for the Cooch Behar Trophy and how it transformed the career of prominent cricketers, which you will get to know here.

The buzz over the recent Cooch Behar trophy’s final cricket match has not yet subsided. Team Haryana drew a lot of attention for winning the Under-19 Cooch Behar Trophy after 22 years. This year’s tournament became more interesting with the defeat of Mumbai, based on a first-innings lead taken by Haryana’s Under 19 cricket team at Eden Gardens of Kolkata. 

Does the trophy’s name pique your interest in learning more about its history and evolution? Keep reading.

Several domestic tournaments in India are named after famous personalities, like the Ranji Trophy and the Duleep Trophy. But Cooch Behar trophy is named after the name of a district in West Bengal. But why? What connection does Cooch Behar have with cricket? To learn more about the relevance of cooch behar with cricket, let’s move ahead with the article.

The Cooch Behar & Royal Connection of the Trophy

The Koch dynasty of the Koch tribe ruled over Cooch Behar, a part of which was under the Kamarupa Kingdom of Assam. Later, Bhutan’s king invaded and conquered Cooch Behar in 1772–1773.

This heritage city of West Bengal is situated in the eastern Himalayan foothills. After driving out the Bhutanese, the British East India Company then restored Cooch Behar to its former status as a princely kingdom. The city of Cooch Behar (Cooch Behar) underwent a transformation from a princely state to its current status after August 20, 1949. 

The royal family patronized cricket. Thus, they donated trophies and started this tournament. From 1945-46, the Cooch Behar Trophy became India’s prestigious domestic cricket competition. Earlier, this trophy was held as a school competition. But later, in the year 1987-88, it changed to an under-19 competition. 

Cooch Behar under 19 tournament is one of the key national tournaments that attract young players from different states. Hence, this tournament plays a crucial role in the selection of Under 19 and senior Indian cricket team players.

Format of the Cooch Behar Trophy 

The Cooch Behar Trophy now has a new format. It originally began as a two-or three-day competition amongst school teams from various zones, but it has since developed into a four-day competition featuring Under-19 teams from various states. With the exception of Railways and Services, every Ranji Trophy team fields sides. There are four groups; each group consists of 6 states. These four groups of the sides play round-robin games against one another. Quarterfinals, semifinals, and a final are played after the group matches are finished.

Prominent Players Who Played Cooch Behar Before Starting Their Professional Career

In 1988–89, Sachin Tendulkar, aka “Our Cricket God,” played for Mumbai’s under 19 cricket team and made 214 runs. His performance played a significant role in his other selection in first-class cricket. Within a year of the cooch Behar tournament, Sachin Tendulkar played their first international test match.

The success story of Cooch Behar players doesn’t end here. Some of India’s finest cricketers, including Sunil Gavaskar, Virat Singh, Yuvraj Singh, Shikhar Dhawan, and MS Dhoni, participated in the Cooch Behar Competition. It won’t be wrong to state that their success at the under-19 tournaments resulted in their selection in India’s senior cricket team.

Apart from them, many well-known test players also have competed for this trophy in their youth. Some of them are Budhi Kunderan, Rusi Surti, Ashok Mankad, Karsan Ghavri, and Mohinder Amarnath.

Do tournaments like Cooch Behar still make sense?

Tournaments like Cooch Behar and Ranji play a critical role in transforming the professional career of the cricketers. Several Under 19 state cricket teams compete in these tournaments, and various star performers of the tournament secure a place in India’s Under 19 cricket squad. 

As we know, being under 19 is a significant milestone in a young cricketer’s career. Their professional journey starts once they secure a place in the Indian Under 19 cricket team. Take the example of Rajvardhan Hangargekar and Raj Angad Bawa. Both players are in the Under 19 Indian squad, played cooch Behar and played IPL 2022. 

But there is another side of the coin too. Earlier, prior to the start of IPL, young cricketers used to consider Ranji, Cooch Behar, and other national tournaments a crucial platform to showcase their performance. But after the arrival of IPL and T20, more under 19 players give more importance to IPL selection.

Although, we will not say it is bad. But young cricketers should take these national tournaments seriously. We are sure by going through the logic, you will also start thinking this way.

Not All tournament formats are same

There are mainly three types of match formats – One day, Test match and T20. Not all cricketers have the same style of playing. The approach and strategy that goes well in T20, doesn’t suit for test matches. Thus, by playing tournaments like Ranji, Cooch Behar, Duleep trophy and Vijay Hazare – young cricketers get more experience, and their chances of selection under international format matches goes up.

Tournaments provide opportunities to showcase your performance

More Under 19 tournaments a player plays, the more opportunities they get to showcase their capabilities. Take example of Vicky Oswal. He was not selected for Cooch Behar, but he worked on his performance and secured a place in the Under 19 Indian squad. There he played ICC Under 19 world cup, where he performed well and his performance was highly appreciated. His hard work paid back when he debuted in IPL 2022 in Delhi Capital squad.

Concluding on a promising note

We know how much effort each sportsman puts on the ground. This is also true like a character of a virtual gameplay, the more a budding sportsman plays, the better his performance becomes. So, make these national tournaments your stepping stone, and fulfill your dream of playing for an Indian cricket team.