Sandwiched between the Asian Games and the World Cup, the Irani Cup match, which begins at the Saurashtra Cricket Association stadium here on Sunday, derives its relevance from being the communion of the have-beens and the wannabes attempting to nourish their Team India prospects.
Cheteshwar Pujara, the can-do-all-day stonewaller, will be the buzz-making stately presence. It will be interesting to watch if he’s being busy or attritional with the bat.
Pujara undoubtedly will be the bedrock of the Saurashtra batting that boasts of the second highest run-getter in the 2022-23 Ranji Trophy season, Arpit Vasavada. The team also has the 37-year-old Sheldon Jackson, who’s known to string long partnerships with Pujara.
The bowling will be spearheaded by captain Jaydev Unadkat. Pujara and Unadkat come off a county stint with Sussex.
Similarly, Rest of India’s B. Sai Sudharsan comes off a county stint with Surrey. The 21-year-old, who has been in fine form and recently won the TNCA cricketer of the year award, will be among the young talents to watch out for along with Sarfaraz Khan, Yash Dhull, and Rohan Kunnummal. It will be interesting to see where they feature in the batting order.
Rest of India’s batting will be shouldered by the experienced Mayank Agarwal, the highest run-getter in the 2022-23 Ranji Trophy season, and captain Hanuma Vihari.
Bengal’s Akash Deep, who replaced the injured Shivam Mavi in the Rest of India squad, is not expected to play as he’s in the India squad at the Asian Games in Hangzhou.
Navdeep Saini is expected to lead the pace attack with Karnataka’s Vidwath Kaverappa. Shams Mulani, the second highest wicket-taker in the 2022-23 Ranji Trophy season, Uttar Pradesh’s Saurabh Kumar and Delhi’s Pulkit Narang are the spinners in the squad.
KS Bharat will don the gloves for Rest of India. Gloveman Dhruv Jurel also features in the squad.
REST OF INDIA
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