Stars aplenty but no buzz as Deodhar Trophy set for kick-off

The teams — India ‘A’, India ‘B’ and India ‘C’ — will play each other on a round-robin format followed by the final.

Hanuma Vihari will lead India A and share the dressing room with R. Ashwin in the Deodhar Trophy. (File Photo)   -  S. Sudershan

The Deodhar Trophy may seem to have lost its relevance, but when the 48th edition of the tournament gets underway at the JSCA Stadium here on Thursday, it will provide a valuable platform to promising youngsters like Devdutt Padikkal, Vishnu Vinod and Yashashvi Jaiswal.

There is hardly any buzz about the tournament — named after Pune-based Sanskrit professor D.B. Deodhar, who played before and after two World Wars and lived more than 100 years and is known as the Grand Old Man of Indian cricket — in the city, which witnessed India complete a 3-0 whitewash against South Africa in the Test series just over a week ago.

The three teams — India ‘A’, India ‘B’ and India ‘C’ led by Hanuma Vihari, Parthiv Patel and Shubman Gill respectively — have got several top players who featured in the recently-concluded Test series, the World Cup, Indian Premier League (IPL) and the Vijay Hazare Trophy one-day tournament.

Even the response of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is lukewarm. The BCCI has been experimenting with the tournament by converting it from an inter-zonal one-day event to a strange mix of India ‘A’, India ‘B’ and Vijay Hazare champion in 2015-16, and then to the present form since 2018-19 which discourages regional pride.

Getting information was a hard job. The captains and the curator stood restricted from sharing their comments.

Nevertheless, preparations were in full swing for the tournament, which will be played on a round-robin format followed by the final. The live broadcast will begin from the neat and sprawling complex at 8.45 a.m.

The teams will get some encouragement if fans turn up to have a glimpse of the well-known players like R. Ashwin, Dinesh Karthik, Vihari, Mayank Agarwal, Vijay Shankar, Kedar Jadhav, Mohammed Siraj, Axar Patel and Shahbaz Nadeem.

The performance here may aid in selection for the national team’s forthcoming home one-day series against West Indies, Sri Lanka and Australia.