Sport

Spin king Kundu heads to Driffield

It’s going to another Indian summer at Kings Mill Road after Driffield Town Cricket Club announced Tinu Kundu as their replacement professional player for the 2023 season.

The Woldsmen had previously confirmed the signing of Afghanistan Under-19 spinner Zahir Shehzad for the forthcoming campaign.

The 24-year-old left-arm spinner and lower-order batter was due to arrive in East Yorkshire on the back of two successful seasons in the Liverpool area.

However, securing Shehzad’s signature hit problems when his lack of appearances in Afghan first-class cricket meant he was unable to obtain a visa to the UK as an international sportsperson.

Driffield acted quickly to address the change of plan and have snapped up Tinu Kundu, who will follow in the footsteps of countryman Mayank Mishra, the left-arm spinner who helped Sam Drury’s side to the Yorkshire Premier League North title last season.

Kundu, who will be 28 when he arrives in the Capital of the Wolds for his first stint as a professional in the UK, is another left-arm spinner and plays for the state of Haryana in Indian first-class cricket.

With impressive statistics in domestic cricket, Driffield Town captain Drury is hopeful that Kundu can provide the ammunition that will propel the Woldsmen to back-to-back titles.

“Unfortunately, Zahir (Shehzad) didn’t get selected for any first-class games in the Afghanistan domestic season which means he doesn’t qualify for an international sportsperson visa,” said Drury.

“To qualify for an ISP visa, the player needs to have played a minimum of five first-class or 20 List A games in the past 36 months and with COVID affecting the two previous seasons, I think it’s caused a problem for a few players.

“It’s a shame for Zahir and the club, as he’s a proven player in ECB Premier Division cricket but I’m sure Tinu will be a more than useful replacement.

“Tinu’s a like-for-like replacement for Zahir as he’s also a slow left-arm spinner who bats in the lower order.

“He’s 27 years old and has taken 46 wickets at an average of 16 in the Ranji Trophy, which is very impressive and it’s why I chose to approach him.

“It will be his first time playing in the UK so I’m sure he’ll be determined to come over here make a name for himself.

“It’s always good to get everything in our control sorted out as early as possible.

“This gives Tinu plenty of time to apply for his visa and when he gets it passed from the authorities, we can get his flights booked.

“I’m hoping we’ll be able to have him here in time for the second pre-season friendly at Scarborough on 15th April.

“Whatever we did last season worked, so we’ll be sticking to the same plan and if the rest of the team perform as well as last season, the young lads keep improving and as a team we keep the same drive to win, we’ll definitely be in with a chance of winning the title again.

“It will be tough as there is a lot more expected of us this year but I’m backing the lads to deal with the pressure and I think the fact we didn’t get to Headingley last season in the Premier League play offs will work in our favour.

“We’re all determined to get to the final this time and be crowned the champions of Yorkshire.”

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