The Mushtaq Ali Trophy all-India T20 tournament, starting here on Friday, will provide a lead into the form of domestic players tuning up for their respective franchises in Indian Premier League fifth edition next month.

The next major competition is the ICC T20 World Cup in Sri Lanka this September, a long way off compared to the IPL, so players involved in the BCCI-organised T20 tournament named after Mushtaq Ali have immediate goals in mind.

Mumbai has included India middle-order batsman Rohit Sharma in the squad of 15 for the event.Captained by Ajit Agarkar, the host,faces off against the power-packed Tamil Nadu in the quarterfinals on Saturday.

The opener will feature Karnataka against Baroda.

The schedule:

Pre-quarterfinals: March 23: Karnataka vs Baroda; Punjab vs Assam.

Quarterfinals: March 24: Delhi vs Railways, Mum vs TN.

March 25: Bengal vs winner of Karnataka vs Baroda, Madhya Pradesh vs winner of Punjab vs Assam.

Semifinals: March 26. Final: March 27.

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