The Uttar Pradesh versus Rest of India clash in the Irani Trophy panned out just as everyone had expected it to, in a big mismatch. BCCI’s weird decision of scheduling this low-key but important match at a time when the Ranji champions UP were without their top players — who were at the Champions Trophy camp — took the gloss off the match.
In the end, a virtual UP A team turned out against a formidable unit led by Wasim Jaffer.
The intensity or the lack of it in the contest was manifest in the fact that the five-day match got over well before lunch on the third morning with Rest of India registering a nine-wicket win.
Among those trying to prove a point, Zaheer Khan used the opportunity the best to stake a claim for a return to the national side with a match haul of six wickets, including four in the first innings.
L Balaji too got six in the match, while S Badrinath made a sparkling unbeaten 80.
However neither of the two did enough in the remainder of the season to make it to the next level. UP opener Shivakant Shukla and left-arm medium-pacer Shalabh Srivastava were also impressive but they too were unable to sustain the good work afterwards.
In effect, it was an uneven contest by design and the BCCI ought to have shown more care and concern in scheduling what was the first first-class match of the season.