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East hope to tame West

india Updated: Mar 18, 2009 01:12 IST
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay

The might of West Zone will be up against the grit of East Zone in the Deodhar Trophy final on Wednesday. On paper, it's a clash of opposites, given the pedigree and heritage of the two sides.

West form the elites of Indian cricket, literally. All five first-class teams from this zone are in the Elite Division of Ranji Trophy. East in comparison had just one — Orissa —among the Elite when the season started before being joined by Bengal, who got promoted from the Plate Division.

That's where East would like the contrast to end. Paying scant respect to reputation, they have beaten North and Central in the group league. West too made short work of South and Zimbabwe President's XI.

But as far as resources are concerned, there is a big and potentially crucial difference between the sides and that is spin bowling. The final at Barabati Stadium will be played on a new strip. Going by how the other pitches at the venue have behaved, spinners may play an important role.

West are far better placed with left-armers Ravindra Jadeja, Iqbal Abdulla and off-spinner Kamlesh Makwana. East have struggled on this front, not being able to give Tushar Saha and Rakesh Mohanty their full quota of overs in either match.

Skipper Manoj Tiwary was thinking of replacing a spinner with an extra batsman.

With no spinner in the reserves, he was planning to use of part-timers. It's a gamble he thinks he has to take.

West too will make a change to the XI, following an ankle injury to Maharashtra opening bowler Jitendra Patil. To partner Siddharth Trivedi, they flew in Saurashtra medium-pacer Jayesh Odedra.

East look better in this department, especially with Assam's Dhiraj Goswami providing good support to the Bengal duo of Ranadeb Bose and Ashoke Dinda.

East have been well served by their openers and middle-order batsmen who have made up for the failure of Tiwary in two games.

There are no big names but they have done well so far and it remains to be seen how they do in the biggest match of the competition. West's batting on the other hand boasts of some famous faces, led by Wasim Jaffer. As has been seen in this event, application, determination and execution of plans will matter more than reputation in the final. There may not be immediate returns, but with the national selectors watching, nobody would be short on motivation in the last match of the 2008-09 domestic season.