CUTTACK: The final of the 36th Prof. D.B. Deodhar Trophy between eight-time champion West Zone and four-time winner East Zone will pit talent drawn from the Elite and Plate group teams.
On paper, West looks strong and balanced. East will, however, carry the confidence of beating two strong opponents — North and defending champion Central.
The Wasim Jaffer-led West has players from the Elite Ranji teams, while most of the East players are from the Plate group sides, except two Orissa players who figured in the Elite section.
Captained by Bengal’s Manoj Tiwary, East has been served well by some fine individual performances, both in the batting and bowling departments.
West had a fairly easy time while qualifying from Group B, beating a disjointed South Zone and a mediocre Zimbabwe President’s XI. On the other hand, East had a tougher time while overcoming strong outfits like 11-time champion North and five-time winner Central.
Four of the top five East batsmen are in good nick. Wriddhiman Saha and Nataraj Behera have given the side solid starts which have been capitalised by Ishank Jaggi and Saurabh Tiwary. The only worry for the side is Manoj Tiwary’s poor run.
East’s forte is its medium-pace attack where Ashok Dinda, Ranadeb Bose and Dhiraj Goswami have provided the early breakthroughs. East is weighing the option of playing an extra batsman in place of Tushar Saha and get the part-time bowlers to chip in, or play medium-pacer Preetamjit Das.
West has flown in Saurashtra medium-pacer Jayesh Odedra for the injured Jitendra Patil.
The teams (from): West Zone: Wasim Jaffer (capt.), Parthiv Patel, Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhavik Thaker, Abhishek Nayar, Siddharth Trivedi, Iqbal Abdullah, Jayesh Odedra, Kamlesh Makwana, Rakesh Solanki, Kedar Jadhav, Harshad Khadiwale and Murtuja Vahora.
East Zone: Manoj Tiwary (capt.), Wriddhiman Saha, Nataraj Behera, Ishank Jaggi, Saurabh Tiwary, Deepak Sharma, Dhiraj Goswami, Ranadeb Bose, Ashok Dinda, Rakesh Mohanty, Tushar Saha, Preetamjit Das, Haladhar Das, Shib Shankar Roy and Rana Dutta.