Even as the spotlight pans away from Ahmedabad in the wake of India’s agonising World Cup final loss, cricket will remain the focal point in the city, as it gears up to host the Group C matches of the Vijay Hazare Trophy 2023.
Karnataka, though the heavyweight in the group, will have its task cut out after its sub-optimal Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy (SMAT) campaign, where it failed to advance to the knockouts. Thirteen players have been retained from that squad.
Mayank Agarwal will herald Karnataka for the second year running and will hope to take the side all the way after it stumbled in the semifinals last year. However, reviving his India fortunes in the longest version via the 50-over format seems like a long shot for the out-of-favour Test opener.
Devdutt Padikkal is an addition to the 50-over squad this year and he will draw inspiration from his 609 runs in the 2019 leg, the highest in the tournament, when Karnataka last lifted the trophy.
Vidwath Kaverappa, whose last List A outing yielded him 13 wickets from five innings in the Deodhar Trophy, will be Karnataka’s strike bowler as he continues to make a case for inclusion in the national setup.
Their challenger for the top spot will be Delhi, under the charge of Yash Dhull.
In taking Delhi to the semifinals of SMAT and India A to the final of the Emerging Asia Cup earlier this year, Dhull banished the ghosts of his unceremonious mid-season removal from captaincy during the Ranji Trophy last year.
However, after a poor outing in the Irani Cup, Dhull needs a purple patch to improve his bidding in the national set-up, which is fresh into another four-year ODI cycle after the conclusion of the 50-over World Cup.
High on the SMAT success and packed with IPL talent, this Delhi side will bank on its youthful flamboyance to pack a punch above its weight. Ayush Badoni, Suyash Sharma, and Anuj Rawat proved pivotal in the shorter white-ball format last month and will be crucial in the longer one as well.
Another side in the group relying on IPL flair will be Jammu & Kashmir. If the troika of Umran Malik, Vivrant Sharma, and Abdul Samad plays its cards right, the team could find itself in the reckoning for a pre-quarterfinal spot.
The dark horse in the group will be Haryana. Its facade is built on its seasoned bowling duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Harshal Patel but reputed names in the team include slog-specialist Rahul Tewatia and journeyman Ashok Menaria who could prove match-winners on their day.
The team strikes a balance between experience and youth with Under-19 standouts Nishant Sindhu and Himanshu Rana.
The other teams in the group are Uttarakhand, Chandigarh, Bihar, and Mizoram.
- Ranji Trophy Live Score 2024 Quarterfinals Day 3 Updates: TN looks to increase lead; Karnataka eyes big partnership vs VID
- India vs England Live Score, 4th Test Day 3: Jurel, Kuldeep at crease after Bashir leaves IND hanging
- Romero scores twice as bottom side Almeria holds Atletico to a draw
- Arsenal routs Newcastle to keep pace with leader Liverpool
- Former England, QPR forward Stan Bowles dies aged 75