As domestic cricket moves from days game format to limited overs, the five zones are gearing up for the Vijay Hazare Trophy. Haryana Cricket Association will host the North Zone tournament, which will witness Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir compete for top honours.
Since the India-South Africa ODI series will begin just two days after these domestic one-dayers get over, the Vijay Hazare Trophy assumes significance. Players will be hoping to perform well to catch selectors’ attention.
The men to watch out for in the North Zone league will be India’s ODI regulars, batsman Virat Kohli and fast bowler Ashish Nehra, along with those who got a call to Board President’s XI team that played South Africa - Delhi’s Pradeep Sangwan, Himachal’s Vikramjeet Singh Malik and Haryana opener Rahul Dewan.
“I am looking to repeat my success in the Ranji Trophy here also,” said Malik who was the highest wicket-taker (32) for Himachal in the Ranji Trophy this season.
Haryana opener Rahul Dewan said: “It’s a limited-overs game and hence it’s important to perform here, it’s a test of your temperament.”
Last year, Delhi and Himachal Pradesh reached the quarterfinals where Delhi lost to Bengal and Himachal to Uttar Pradesh.
J&K first up
Delhi begin this year’s campaign against Jammu and Kashmir under Virat Kohli who led the team in two Ranji Trophy matches. Yogesh Nagar replaces Gaurav Chabra, who picked up a knee injury. Also, Ashish Nehra will not be available for the first match due to a family commitment and Pawan Suyal has been called up as his replacement.
Delhi coach Vijay Dahiya said: “We are prepared. Virat and Shikhar are looking in good form. Chetanya Nanda is back and that strengthens our spin department.”
Squads: Delhi: V. Kohli (captain), P. Awana, J.Singh, A.Jain, R. Bhatia, P. Bisht, Y. Nagar, U. Chand, S. Dhawan, M. Manhas, P. Mehra, C. Nanda, P. Suyal, P. Sangwan, V. Mishra.
Jammu and Kashmir: A. Nabi (captain), I. Thakur, A. Baloria, S Beigh, M. Dogra, M. Gupta, H. Singh, V. Kaw, S. Khajuria, D. Mahajan, O. Ahmed, P. Rassol, H. Ronga, S. Ali, I. Dev Singh.