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West in the zone

cricket Updated: Jan 25, 2010 23:54 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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A confident West Zone, mainly comprising players from Ranji Trophy champions Mumbai, will take on North Zone in the first semifinal of the Duleep Trophy match here on Tuesday.

Both teams have a fair amount of depth in batting and bowling but it’s the presence of all-rounders of proven ability that makes West look better on paper.

And they’re led by Wasim Jaffer, who is on a high after leading Mumbai to a second successive Ranji title.

Abhishek Nayar, Yusuf Pathan, Irfan Pathan, Ramesh Powar, Ravindra Jadeja, Ajit Agarkar can all bowl and bat. Jaffer will have a problem of plenty choosing a bowling attack from among them.

And when it comes to batting, the West Zone skipper should find enough depth there as well. Ajinkya Rahane, Parthiv Patel and Chirag Pathak, all feature in the top 10 scorers in Ranji Trophy this season.

Add names like Cheteshwar Pujara and Rohit Sharma and it is easy to imagine what the North Zone bowlers will be up against.

Led by Virat Kohli, North Zone will depend heavily on their batting.

Apart from the young skipper, they will bank on other Delhi batsmen Rajat Bhatia, Mithun Manhas and Shikhar Dhawan to deliver.

Bowlers Love Ablish, Vikramjeet Malik and Manpreet Gony too have done well and Kohli will hope they have the wherewithal to test West Zone’s batting. And surely Jaffer hasn’t forgotten Himachal Pradesh seamer Vikramjit Malik’s pace and swing that ripped through Mumbai’s batting in their Ranji clash this season.

Though the wicket at the Madhavrao Scindia Cricket Ground is traditionally known to prefer batsmen, both sides will tread with caution to avoid giving away any early advantage to the opposition side.