Raina, Mohit to headline Buchi Babu tourney

The two India cricketers will add gloss to the event that runs from September 2 to September 15.

Suresh Raina’s participation will add buzz to the Buchi Babu tournament.   -  K. Pichumani

Indian cricketers Suresh Raina and Mohit Sharma will add gloss to the AGS Buchi Babu Invitation cricket tournament, when the action begins here from Saturday.

The tournament, which will see the participation of 12 teams — three from Tamil Nadu and nine from other states — will be played across five grounds in and around Chennai over the next fortnight. While the group league matches will be played from Saturday to September 9, the semifinals will be held on September 11 and 12. The final will be at the IC-Gurunanak College ground on September 14-15.

Divided into four groups, the tournament will have two-day matches, and in case, the first day gets washed out, the second day will have a 50-over-a-side match. “That’s been in effect for the last couple of years and this time too, there won’t be any changes,” K. Srinivasan, the umpires committee chairman of the TNCA, told Sportstar.

Taking no chances

With Chennai witnessing moderate rainfall over the last few weeks, the organisers are in no mood to take any chances with the ground covers. The association has already sent proper equipments to all the hosting centres so that the matches aren’t affected.

The winner will be receiving a cash award of Rs 1,00,000, while the runner-up will get Rs 50,000.

Though the Duleep Trophy will also run concurrently, the organisers feel that with Raina and Sharma set to play a few matches, the tournament will raise its standard. The India batsman, who has also been a part of the Chennai Super Kings, will reach the city late on Thursday before hitting the nets on Friday ahead of Uttar Pradesh’s opener against Chhattisgarh.

Local boy, Baba Indrajith, who was named the captain of TNCA President’s XI will miss the tournament from its second leg due to the Duleep Trophy. The BCCI, on Wednesday, picked him for India Red.

That, however, wouldn’t bother the organisers much. With rain slowly making way for a sunny and sultry Chennai, they would be hoping for enough cricket in the next few days.

The Groups

Group A: TNCA President’s XI, Kerala, Assam.

Group B: TNCA Districts XI, Haryana, Saurashtra.

Group C: TNCA XI, Baroda, Hyderabad.

Group D: Chhatisharh, Uttar Pradesh, Mumbai.