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Captains to take center stage

While Gujarat are in form, Railways have the advantage of having played and won a Ranji Trophy final, speculates Amol Karhadkar.

india Updated: Jan 04, 2008 18:46 IST
Amol Karhadkar

Even before the Ranji Trophy Plate final starts at the historic Brabourne stadium on Saturday, both Gujarat and Railways have assured themselves a place in the next year's Super League. While Gujarat have the likes of India-discard Parthiv Patel and Niraj Patel, Railways squad includes Murali Kartik, who made an exceptional comeback for India not so long ago, ans Sanjay Bangar along with the domestic giants like Kulamani Parida.

Yet, both the teams will be finish the season on a high in what would be the last Plate final.

Just a glare at the team sheets is enough to justify that both these teams never belonged to the lower rung of India's premier domestic championship. However, one bad patch was enough to relegate Railways to Plate at the end of the 2005-6 season and Gujarat at the end of last season.

While Gujarat were quick to regain their spot in the top league, it took Railways two years to return to the Super League.

And with the Plate final set to be scrapped from the next season since the top two teams from Plate will compete with the top six from the Super League for the Ranji Trophy title, both the teams go into the match with additional motivation.

Gujarat skipper Parthiv Patel emphasised that his team would like to "claim" the championship.

"It's a pride to play the final and we are aiming to claim the championship," Patel said after the team's practice on Friday. "It has been an excellent season for us so far."

Railways skipper Murali Kartik was also looking forward for an exhilarating contest.

"The final is going to be exciting as they also have a balanced side," Kartik said. "So we will try our best."

While Gujarat are in form, Railways have the advantage of having played and won a Ranji Trophy (Super League, then Elite) final.

Squads

Gujarat: Parthiv Patel (Capt), Nilesh Modi, Rajesh Tabiar, Niraj Patel, Bhavik Thaker, Digant Popat, Timil Patel, Mohnish Parmar, Amit Singh, Ashraf Makda, Siddharth Trivedi, Anand Brahmabhatt, Nilesh Chaudhari, Hitesh Majumdar, Hem Joshipura, Jay Desai.

Railways: Murali Kartik, Sanjay Bangar, Amit Pagnis, Siddharth Joshi, Hashad Rawle, Sanjib Sanyal, Mahesh Rawat, Karan Sharma, Raja Ali, Harvinder Singh, Kulamani Parida, Santosh Saxena, Madan Yadav, Rahul Deb, Sabir Ali