Tag Archives: Duleep Trophy

Duleep Trophy Semis

So, South Zone prevailed over Central Zone in the Duleep opening game. A cats’ whisker separated the two teams in terms of the recorded result: South won on the basis of a 3-run 1st Innings lead! However, the result and the manner in which it was contrived was, in my view, a shocker that ought to send a clear signal to the people that run the game in India — notwithstanding the fact that I used the word “run” in a loose manner in that sentence!

The result was handed to South Zone when Central’s last bat, Umesh Yadav, went for a huge second-ball slog off L. Balaji with Central just 3 runs behind. Murali Kartik, who was at the non-strikers’ end (on 23 off 32 balls) would have reason to be cheesed off with Umesh Yadav who probably redeemed himself by being the best bowler on view from either side in the first innings. Yadav had a 5-fer that included the wickets of Dravid and Laxman.

South Zone went ahead to the next round on the basis of the slender 3-run 1st Innings lead that it secured. Thereby, players like Robin Uthappa, S. Badrinath, Dinesh Kartik, L. Balaji, Abhinav Mukund, and Sreesanth lived to fight another day!

Fair enough.

However, what was galling was that the captains of South and Central agreed to settle for a draw after the fall of Central’s 9th wicket — that of Mohammed Kaif — even though there were nine overs to go! Chasing 381 in 77 overs was always going to be tough. But Central made an attempt. However, with the fall of the 9th wicket and with 9 overs left in the days’ play, it was thoroughly disappointing to see South’s captain not press for an outright win!

Surely there is something wrong in the “system” right there! We can blame the rot on the administrators — and we do — but surely, the players have to get into the winning habit too! Even though there are no carry-forward points I can’t imagine a let-us-settle-for-a-draw attitude percolating through the Australian system or the South African domestic system, for example.

These little things do matter. Winning is a habit.

Players like Badrinath get another chance to press their case. Dinesh Kartik made a compelling case for the 2nd ‘keeper slot with two impressive centuries in the match.

The action moves to Mumbai and Rajkot now

  • 1st Semi-Final: East Zone v West Zone @ Mumbai – Jan 29-Feb 1, 2009
  • 2nd Semi-Final: North Zone v South Zone at Rajkot – Jan 29-Feb 1, 2009

The teams:

East Zone Team:
Shiv Sunder Das (capt), Manoj Tiwary, Rashmi Parida, Wriddhiman Saha, Haladhar Das (wk), Ashok Dinda, Ranadeb Bose, Dibyendu Chakrabarty, Niranjan Behera, Basanth Mohanty, Anand Katti, Krishna Das, Saurabh Tiwary, Tushar Saha, Jayanta Debnath.

West Zone (in possible batting order):
Wasim Jaffer (capt), Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Kedar Jadhav, Bhavik Thakkar, Abhishek Nayar, Parthiv Patel (wk), Ramesh Powar, Rajesh Pawar, Dhawal Kulkarni, Sidharth Trivedi.
Subs: Ajay Shrikhande, Samad Fallah, Azharuddin Bilakhia and Ajitesh Argal.

South Zone (in possible batting order):
Abhinav Mukund, Robin Uthappa, Rahul Dravid, V.V.S. Laxman (captain), S. Badrinath (vice-captain), Arjun Yadav, Dinesh Karthik (wk), R. Ashwin, M. Suresh, L. Balaji, S. Sreeshanth.
Subs: Suarav Bandekar, M. Vinay Kumar, S. Anoop Pai

Interstingly, Wriddhiman Saha is included as a batsman in the East side with Haladhar Das anointed as the ‘keeper! And that warhorse, Debashis Mohanty is not in the East Zone squad even though he ended the season as East’s leading wicket taker. I have not seen the North Zone team list anywhere yet.

— Mohan

South Vs Central :: Duleep Trophy :: Preview

Since my last post wherein I discussed the South Zone and West Zone teams for the Duleep Trophy, Central Zone announced its team for the Duleep Trohpy. The first match in this knockout-format tournament starts today, 22 Jan, in Bangalore.

For South Zone, I expect the playing XI to be:
Abhinav Mukund, Robin Uthappa, Rahul Dravid, V.V.S. Laxman (captain), S. Badrinath (vice-captain), Dinesh Karthik (wk), R. Ashwin, P. Pragyan Ojha, L. Balaji, S. Sreeshanth, R. Vinay Kumar.

It is a good line-up with Abhivav Mukund expecting to shine brighter in the national radar as he has done in Chennai! Robin Uthappa will continue an impressive season after going off the boil subsequent to the Australia tour in 2008. While Rahul Dravid and Laxman will use this as match practice ahead of the New Zealand tour, Badrinath should use this opportunity to force his way into reckoning for the New Zealand tour.

The bowling looks solid on the back of Sreesanth’s 7-fer in the match in his comeback match for Kerala. But that was in the Ranji Plate match against a weak Jharkand. Whether he can cut it on the bigger stage remains to be seen! With the fast bowling stocks looking quite healthy in India at the moment, Sreesanth and L. Balaji have their work cut out for them!

The Central Zone squad is dominated by players from Uttar Pradesh (finalists in the Ranji). The CZ squad (in possible batting order):

Shivakant Shukla, Tanmay Srivastava, Yere Goud, Mohammad Kaif (capt), Faiz Fazal, Naman Ojha (wk), Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Piyush Chawla, Murali Kartik, Pankaj Singh, Anureet Singh.

Subs: Umesh Yadav, Robin Bist, Parvinder Singh, Jalaj Saxena.

Pankaj Singh was in the India Test side to tour Australia last year. Piyush Chawla has played many a game for India and left-arm spinner, Murali Kartik played for India not too long ago. So Central may feel that they have a better bowling attack. Mohammed Kaif should use this to stake his, perhaps rightful, claim on the big stage in Indian cricket!

Although Central have competent players like Mohammed Kaif, Murali Kartik, Pitush Chawla, Yere Goud (former Karnataka player and prolific scorer), et al, South Zone should win this stage to move on to bigger and better things in the tournament.

But then stranger things have happened, as they say!

— Mohan

Duleep Trophy Teams

The South Zone team for the Duleep Trophy has been announced. Interestingly, the newspaper report requests all the players “to assemble in Bangalore on January 20. For further details players may contact R. Sudhakar Rao, assistant secretary, on Phone No. 098440 41815.”

Surely, there is a better way to do this!

The Duleeps this year commences from Jan 22. In the absence of a foreign team — the sixth team — this season’s Duleep Trophy will be played on a knock-out basis. I am not sure why this has to be the case! This is one of the few occasions when the country’s elite players are playing against each other. To have them play just one game (perhaps) against the best of their peers is nothing short of baffling. Surely, the tournament can be played on a league basis!

Instead, South Zone and Central Zone, the teams placed at the bottom of their respective groups last season, will play a qualifying match in Bangalore from January 22. The winner will take on defending champions North Zone in the first semi-final, while East Zone clash with West Zone in the second semi-final. The final, will begin at on February 5 in Chennai.

Just as the BCCI got the New Zealand tour itinerary wrong, my feeling is that the BCCI has screwed this up too!

The SZ team itself is a mixed-bag. As Shankar points out in the comments section of a previous thread, how M. Vijay missed out and how Arjun Yadav — son of former India spinner, Shivlal Yadav — gets in, is a mystery.

M. Vijay, we all remember, played for India against Australia in the 3rd and final Test match of the series in October, when Gautam Gambhir was “elbowed out” of the game!

It is terrific to see Abhinav Mukund get into the big league. He was the 4th biggest scorer in the Ranji Trophy with 856 runs and is just behind Wasim Jaffer, Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara in the pecking order. As Srikanth Mangalam has pointed out, Abhinav Mukund, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli and R. Jadeja are possibly the future of Indian cricket.

It is also good to see Sreesanth making a comeback into the SZ team. Although L. Balaji has been playing well for the last year, to get into the big league once again indicates that his career is probably heading in the right direction once again.

The South Zone team in possible batting order is:

Abhinav Mukund, Robin Uthappa, Rahul Dravid, V.V.S. Laxman (captain), S. Badrinath (vice-captain), Dinesh Karthik (wk), R. Ashwin, P. Pragyan Ojha, L. Balaji, S. Sreeshanth, R. Vinay Kumar.

Subs: Suarav Bandekar, M. Suresh and S. Anoop Pai, N. Arjun Yadav,

Meanwhile, the West Zone squad has also been announced. It is a strong team with players like Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Dhawal Kulkarni and Sidharth Trivedi and Abhishek Nayar supporting West Zone veterans Wasim Jaffer and Parthiv Patel.

In a somewhat strange and inexplicable move, while batting in the Ranji Finals, Wasim Jaffer opened the Mumbai batting with wicket-keeper Vinayak Samant! With a player like Ajinkya Rahane in the midst, why would he do that? Having said that, Samant did make a big hundred in the second innings and Rahane didn’t do much in the game! So perhaps Jaffer got it right after all? But surely, one’s got to trust the opener with the job of opening, especially since Rahane was the second highest scorer in the championship with 1089 runs (Jaffer was the only other player to score more than 1000 runs in the season)!

The West Zone team (in possible batting order) is:

Wasim Jaffer (capt), Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Kedar Jadhav, Bhavik Thakkar, Abhishek Nayar, Parthiv Patel (wk), Ramesh Powar, Rajesh Pawar, Dhawal Kulkarni, Sidharth Trivedi.

Subs: Ajay Shrikhande, Samad Fallah, Azharuddin Bilakhia and Ajitesh Argal.

This is an impressive batting line up in which the top three in the WZ batting order are the top three run getters (in that order) in the Ranji Trophy!

Of course, West Zone’s strength will be depleted by the absence of Sachin Tendulkar, Zaheer Khan, Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, Yusuf Pathan and Irfan Pathan, who will all be in Sri Lanka, playing for India against Sri Lanka.

Meanwhile, Mohnish Parmar, the Gujarat offie, has been banrred from playing the Duleep Trophy due to a suspect action! The 20-year-old off-spinner was (with 41 wickets at 19.53) the second highest wicket-taker in the Ranji Trophy competition behind Dhawal Kukrani and Ravindra Jadeja!

I haven’t seen the team announcements for Central, North or East Zone.

— Mohan