Irani Cup: Ranji champion Vidarbha chasing history

Vidarbha’s Wasim Jaffer (right) with Rest of India captain Ajinkya Rahane during a practice session on the eve of the Irani Trophy in Nagpur on February 11, 2019.

Vidarbha’s Wasim Jaffer (right) with Rest of India captain Ajinkya Rahane during a practice session on the eve of the Irani Trophy in Nagpur on February 11, 2019.   | Photo Credit: S. Sudarshan

Umesh Yadav has been advised rest and is expected to be replaced by Yash Thakur.

After scaling another peak, by retaining the Ranji Trophy a few days ago, Vidarbha will have to hit prime form against a strong Rest of India (ROI) side as it chases history in the Z.R. Irani Cup which begins at the VCA stadium on Tuesday.

Unlike the previous season, this year’s Ranji triumph for Vidarbha came after a battle of attrition with Saurashtra. The Vidarbha players will have to be back at their best against ROI for doing an encore in the Irani Cup and become only the third team to do so. They don’t have to look far ahead for motivation as the 41-year-old Wasim Jaffer is all keyed up to do well and is chasing some personal records as well.

Though Vidarbha has the obvious advantage of playing the final at the VCA stadium — which has of late become a fortress for the home side — the depth and quality of ROI’s batting will be a tough test for its bowling spearheaded by Umesh Yadav. 

Rajneesh Gurbani, whose swing bowling was instrumental in Vidarbha’s twin triumph last year, has not been the same force this season. But his ineffectiveness was camouflaged by Umesh and Aditya Sarwate’s magical spells. The duo will again hold the key.


The wicket at the VCA stadium, which has traditionally been more kind to batsmen, will be of interest as the wear and tear and its slowness at the end of season will help the slow bowlers. 

The ROI team, led by India’s Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane, has a formidable batting line-up with a mix of Indian players and consistent performers in Ranji Trophy this season. 

Internationals Mayank Agarwal, Hanuma Vihari, Shreyas Iyer alongwith wicketkeeper-batsman Ishan Kishan, who looked in fine touch in the A series against England Lions, and promising Punjab opener Anmolpreet Singh will be more than a handful for the Vidarbha bowlers.

Dharmendrasinh Jadeja and Snell Patel, who were the backbone of Saurashtra’s campaign in Ranji Trophy, and Kerala medium-pacer Sandeep Warrier have earned their places in the squad.

Fast bowlers Ankit Rajpoot, Ronit More and Tanveer Ul Haq, who all had a good Ranji season, is sure to give selection headaches to Rahane. Leg-spinner Rahul Chahar, coming into the match after a fine show against England Lions, and off-spinner K. Gowtham will have also strong cases for their inclusion in playing XI, given the conditions at VCA stadium.

The teams:

Rest of India: Ajinkya Rahane (capt.), Mayank Agarwal, Anmolpreet Singh, Hanuma Vihari, Shreyas Iyer, Ishan Kishan, K. Gowtham, Dharmendrasinh Jadeja, Rahul Chahar, Ankit Rajpoot, Tanveer Ul Haq, Ronit More, Sandeep Warrier, Rinku Singh and Snell Patel.

Vidarbha: Faiz Fazal (capt.), R. Sanjay, Atharva Taide, Wasim Jaffer, Ganesh Satish, Mohit Kale, Akshay Wadkar, Siddhesh Wath, Aditya Sarwate, Akshay Karneware, Akshay Wakhare, Umesh Yadav, Rajneesh Gurbani, Yash Thakur and Suniket Bingewar.

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 12:36:34 PM |

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