Deodhar Trophy: Hanuma Vihari, Shubman Gill get fresh chance in final
Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina and R Ashwin, all looking to get back into India’s limited-overs sides, have done their 2019 World Cup little favour, failing to make a mark in the Deodhar Trophy being played at the Ferozeshah Kotla ground.
On the other hand, a couple of youngsters have stepped up, improving their chances to earn the middle-order slots still open in the Indian team. The Deodhar final between India B and India C on Saturday will thus be another opportunity for them to make a strong impression.
Vihari, Gill show
A national call-up can do any player’s confidence a world of good, and that has been the case with Hanuma Vihari. The 25-year-old middle-order batsman, who scored a gritty 56 on Test debut in England last month, has been the top performer for India B with two successive half-centuries. The unbeaten 87 against India A and 76 against India C came when his team was in danger of being bundled out.
With India’s ODI middle-order puzzle yet to be resolved, Vihari will know a match-winning knock in the final will keep him in good stead.
As far as absorbing pressure and anchoring the innings is concerned, Shubman Gill’s unbeaten 106 against India A was a perfect example.
Despite the presence of experienced pros, Gill has scored the only century of the tournament, which has helped India C seal a spot in the final.
Since the U-19 World Cup win this year, he has scored consistently, be it for Punjab, India A, or in Indian Premier League (IPL). While the pressure of expectations is always there, Gill knows how to keep them aside.
“All these things (expectations) are there in your mind before you get to the middle. It’s all about scoring runs when you get on the field,” he said after Thursday’s win over India C.
On the slow Kotla track, spinners have accounted for 26 of the 47 wickets to fall in the three games. India B’s key to success has been left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem’s opening spell. He has stemmed the run flow, building pressure and allowing other bowlers to take advantage.
Against India C on Wednesday, Nadeem didn’t let Rahane and Co to settle down, which helped off-spinner K Gowtham and part-timers Manoj Tiwary and Shreyas Iyer to share seven wickets.
For India C, left-arm spinner Pappu Roy -- who took three wickets against India B but wasn’t selected against India A -- could be back for the final.