One of these new ISL entrants is Ritwik Das. When the team lists were announced for today's game, a lot of people and a host of Kerala fans were wondering who Das is.
Das, the 23-year-old winger from West Bengal was one of the finds of the I-League in the past few seasons.
The journey from Kalighat to Kerala via Kashmir
Das started his career in the youth squads of Mohun Bagan where he caught the eye of other maidan clubs and was soon picked up by Kalighat Milan Sangha for their Calcutta Premier Division Group B journey.
It was while playing for Kalighat that Ritwik appeared for trials at Real Kashmir FC.
Das had an immediate impact on David Robertson, the Real Kashmir coach. The Burnpur born right midfielder showed his versatility and became a regular in the Real Kashmir FC set-up.
His claim to fame came in the playoff round of the I-League 2nd Division in 2017-18. He scored two very crucial goals in the playoff phase which helped his team secure victory in those games and ultimately qualify for the I-League.
During his two years in the I-League Das made a name for himself for being versatile. He was one of those players who can play as both a right-back and Right midfielder/winger.
Das mase 21 appearances in the I-League for Real Kashmir and had two assists credited to his name. It was not his goal-scoring abilities, but his work-ethic and work-rate that that made him a favorite of David Robertson.
His ability to chase loose balls and always come back to close down free spaces has been praised by rival managers also.
Not the ideal start to ISL
With Kerala Blasters manager Kivu Vicuna starting Das against ATK Mohun Bagan in the ISL opener, it is evident that the Spanish I-League- winning coach has also taken a liking towards the ex-Real Kashmir FC midfielder.
It wasn't an ISL debut to remember for the young Kerala Blasters midfielder, but with the first game out of the way, he can work on his nerves and concentrate on doing the things for which he is known. The nerves got the better of Das whle playing his first ISL game. But the Kerala Blasters faithful will be hoping that their lad new recruit gets into form from the next ISL match.Published 21 Nov 2020, 00:38 IST