TUESDAY TURNED out to be a big day for Uttar Pradesh as six of its cricketers were chosen for the four-day Challenger Series, beginning on October 1 in Chennai.
This is the first time such a large number of players from UP have made it to the Challenger squads.
As expected Team India stars Mohd Kaif, Suresh Raina and Rudra Pratap Singh made it, besides young leggie and India Under-19 skipper Piyush Chawla. But young all-rounder Praveen Kumar and energetic batsman Tanmay Srivastava also found their names in teams for the prestigious event, which will kick-start the domestic season.
In 2004, Mohd Kaif was the only one from UP to play in the Challenger Series. In 2005, there were five: Kaif, Raina, Rudra, Chawla and Ravikant Shukla because of their showing in the domestic and the international levels. “It's a big achievement for UP cricketers,” said Gomti Nagar Cricket Hostel coach Pramod Kumar Gupta on Tuesday. “It's an opportunity for youngsters like Chawla, Praveen and Tanmay to stake their claim to Team India berths.”
The only notable 'omission' from UP is prolific left-handed batsman Ravikant Shukla.
Despite being the skipper of Team India, he failed to shine with the bat in the ICC Youth World Cup in Sri Lanka this year. He also went through a bad patch in the last Ranji Trophy season.