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BENGALURU: Nearly 150-odd cricketers from the North East and other Ranji Plate teams, camping at the National Cricket Academy, were pleasantly surprised to be dropped by India football captain Sunil Chhetri after being invited by the BCCI.
The northeastern states have regained their first-class status recently three seasons back and football is still the most popular sport in the region and the choice of Vaichung Bhutia and Chhetri is a bigger icon any day than the current star cricketers of states like Manipur, Meghalaya. , Sikkim, Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh.
The NCA’s goal was to connect cricketers in the region with someone who enjoys an iconic status in the region and can tell their own success stories in the club and international arena.
Chhetri, one of the top scorers among the active players in international football, along with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, had a lot of fun taking part in fielding practice.
Chhetri, who is a close friend of former India captain Virat Kohli, impressed everyone with her smooth pick-up and throw during a fielding session as the campers looked on in amazement.

“He had a delightful fielding competition and shared some lessons with the boys from the Northeast and Plate teams from his own incredible journey in football,” the BCCI tweeted.
Chhetri later joined NCA chief VVS Laxman for one-on-one sessions, who are taking a skills training session at the NCA.
“It was a great session because the cricketers learned from an icon of the Indian game what kind of hard work and sacrifice is required to reach the top,” a BCCI official involved in the development told PTI on condition of anonymity.
“The BCCI’s initiative will give young and emerging talents an equal opportunity to hone their skills and represent India in a variety of formats. NE has a lot of potential in the sport and the board will not spare any effort to ensure that we utilize the best talent in the country.” Secretary Joy Shah tweeted a few days ago.

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