Vijay Hazare Trophy: Punjab starts favourite against Vidarbha

Punjab, headed by Harbhajan Singh and having the services of Yuvraj Singh and Mandeep Singh, appears a better one-day side than Vidarbha. Though things are getting warmer in this part of the country, toss could still be a factor with the nip in the air making the new-ball bowlers more hopeful in the first hour.

Skipper Harbhajan Singh would have to play a key role when Punjab takes on Vidarbha in New Delhi on Saturday.   -  Picture: PTI

 

Baroda, Punjab and Haryana appear to the front-runners in the seven-team league, in Group ‘A’, of the Vijay Hazare Trophy that commences at three venues here on Saturday.

With the Indian Premier League not so far away, many well-known players will be keen to get their limited-over skills right in the coming days.

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Unlike the preceding domestic seasons when the Mushtaq Ali Trophy was the prelude to the IPL, this year, the players will be required to make minor adjustments when they slip into slam-bang action, beginning from the first week of April. Remember, the Champions Trophy is scheduled soon after the IPL and the performances here could count for national selection, if the selectors deem it fit. It is also likely that the form of the players in the IPL could become a factor when the selectors sit down to pick the team for Champions Trophy.

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While Assam has a day off, Punjab-Vidarbha, Haryana-Odisha and Baroda-Railways matches are scheduled on the opening day here.

Punjab, headed by Harbhajan Singh and having the services of Yuvraj Singh and Mandeep Singh, appears a better one-day side than Vidarbha. Though things are getting warmer in this part of the country, toss could still be a factor with the nip in the air making the new-ball bowlers more hopeful in the first hour.

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Punjab has some exciting limited-over players, with Gurkeerat Singh Mann and medium pacer Sandeep Sharma lending to the team’s capabilities.

On the other hand, Vidarbha, under Faiz Faisal, clearly begins as an underdog. Ambati Rayudu is a proven entity and the experience of Ganesh Satish, former Karnataka batsman could come handy. But overall, it could still run short of resources in a crunch situation.

The teams

Punjab: Harbhajan Singh (captain), Manan Vohra, Shubman Gill, Jivanjot Singh, Mandeep Singh, Yuvraj Singh, Gurkirat Singh Mann, Gitansh Khera, Abhishek Sharma, Manpreet Singh Grewal, Siddharth Kaul, Sandeep Sharma, Varun Khanna, Baltej Singh, Mayank Sidana, Sharad Lumba and Shubek Gill.

Vidarbha: Faiz Fazal (captain), Abhishek Chaurasia, Ganesh Satish, Rajneesh Gurbani, Akshay Karnewar, Akshay Kolhar, Rushabh Rathod, A. Rayudu, Jitesh Sharma, Ravikumar Thakur, Yash Thakur, Shrikant Wagh, Akshay Wakhare, Apoorv Wankhede and Siddhesh Wath.

Saturday’s fixtures: Punjab v Vidarbha (Ferozeshah Kotla ground); Haryana v Odisha (Karnail Singh Stadium) and Baroda v Railways (Palam ‘A’ ground), 9 am