Cricketers gear up for the big challenges on home soil | other | Hindustan Times
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Cricketers gear up for the big challenges on home soil

other Updated: Sep 29, 2012 01:32 IST
Anand Sachar

Once the World Twenty20 ends, the focus of the Indian players will shift to the important home series against England. And the Challenger Trophy beginning in Rajkot on Saturday will provide a host of players with a chance to knock hard on the doors of the national team.

The fact that the revamped India middle-order is still settling down and pace spearhead Zaheer Khan cannot go on forever could only be extra motivation for the players. The newly appointed selectors will also be present in Rajkot. While India 'B' skipper Cheteshwar Pujara made a strong comeback in the Tests against New Zealand, likes of Ajinkya Rahane and Murali Vijay could serve the selectors a reminder.

Facing his India 'A' teammates in the nets, Rahane tried to improvise but a couple of mishits later decided to stick to proper cricketing shots, none of which induced a false strike.

The real battle though will be in the bowling department which has come under scrutiny of late. Left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha was seen testing his variations that deceived Yusuf Pathan on a few occasions. Ishant Sharma, another comeback candidate for India who made his comeback after ankle surgery in the Irani Cup, bowled a lengthy spell in the nets.

And India 'B' seamer Praveen Kumar, who expressed disappointment at being ignored for the national team, will want the ball to do the talking. But teammate, Umesh Yadav, rested for the World Twenty20 after a decent effort in the Tests against New Zealand, will look to improve his consistency.

Bengal are the other team in the fray as the Vijay Hazare Trophy ODI tournament winners. Skipper Wriddhiman Saha, who made a comeback in the Irani Cup following a leg fracture, can regain the standby 'keeper's spot with a good showing.

"It is an important tournament, a decent performance should help me get back into the national team," he said.