Jharkhand: A good mix of youth and experience

Placed in Group B, which also has the the defending champion, Gujarat, Jharkhand will have its task cut out in the new format this season.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni interacts with the Jharkhand Ranji team captain, Saurabh Tiwari, at the VCA ground in Nagpur, ahead the the semifinal against Gujarat last season. Dhoni did not play many matches for Jharkhand as he was on India duty, but he played the role of a mentor for the team to perfection.   -  PTI

Jharkhand is a team of the new millennium. The state association was formed in 2000, after Jharkhand was carved out of the southern part of Bihar that year. The team played its first Ranji Trophy in 2004 and went on to make a steady progress in the country’s premier first-class tournament.

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Jharkhand reached the semifinals in 2016-2017 where it lost to the eventual champion, Gujarat. Placed in Group B, which also has the the defending champion, Gujarat, Jharkhand will have its task cut out in the new format this season. The new format will see intense competition for the two knock-out spots available from the group.

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Some of the notable names in the Jharkhand squad include Saurabh Tiwary, Ishank Jaggi, Kumar Deobrat, Shahbaz Nadeem, Ashish Kumar and youngsters like Virat Singh and Ishan Kishan. Last season, Jaggi and Kishan were the two best batsmen of the side, aggregating 890 and 799 runs respectively, while Nadeem, the left-arm spinner, was outstanding in the bowling department with a haul of 56 wickets.

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Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the most significant name to represent Jharkhand, did not play many matches for his team as he was on national duty. But the former Indian captain sought to be with the side as a mentor last season when Jharkhand entered the semifinals.

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The team has been doing fairly well in the last few seasons. There is good flow of talented youngsters in the side, according to the Jharkhand coach and former player, Rajiv Kumar. He says the team is benefiting from a steady flow of talented players from the youth development system, which gives Jharkhand a good blend of youth and experience.

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Rajiv Kumar (coach): “We have been improving every year and hope to make it even better this time. We have some good youngsters coming into the squad and that will give balance to the side.”

Last season: Reached the semifinals.

Titles: Nil.

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