After learning a hard lesson with Hardik Pandya’s mysterious injury saga, national coaches will look at bowling‘s versatile potentials in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy which kicks off on Thursday.
Versatile fast bowling players will also be on the radar of IPL teams ahead of the mega auction.
The all-rounder Hardik Pandya is no longer the dreaded all-rounder he was and his back may never allow him to be the quick and average bowler he once was.
During the current T20 World Cup, there was a lot of debate around Hardik’s bowling alley. The Baroda-based cricketer was picked into the Indian squad as a versatile player, but the colorful player didn’t play against Pakistan and only played a few overs against New Zealand, where he has conceded 17 points.
He also did not bowling in the previous IPL.
Thus, the breeders will now have to consider the potential alternatives and cannot simply bet on Hardik and the Mushtaq Ali Trophy will provide the ideal platform for such figures as Vijay Shankar (Tamil Nadu), Shivam Dube (Mumbai) and Venkatesh Iyer. (Madhya Pradesh) to impress the five-member panel.
Even 31-year-old Chirag Jani of Saurashtra could be an option for the managers and they would be watching his performance closely.
The selection committee will also take a close look at how versatile spin-bowling players perform in the National T20 tournament, as currently the national team’s top five are pure hitters. This should highlight Krunal Pandya’s performance.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Prithvi Shaw (Mumbai) is seen to bow.
Other than that, all of the cast would be more than keen to put on a good show, knowing that the mega auction would take place before next year’s IPL.
The likes of extremely talented Maharashtra skipper Ruturaj Gaikwad, Devdutt Padkkal, Ravikumar Samarth (both Karnataka), Sheldon Jackson, N Jagadeesan, C Hari Nishaanth (Tamil Nadu) will be among others who will want to make a statement by scoring crucial races.
Meanwhile, senior players like wicket-keeper batsman Wriddhiman Saha (Bengal), Ajinkya Rahane (Mumbai) are reportedly keen to lead their respective teams to victory.
As a reminder, the teams have been divided into five elite groups and one plate group, which will compete in the championship phase, which will be played in Lucknow. Guwahati, Baroda, Delhi, Haryana and Vijayawada.
Tamil Nadu, led by Vijay Shankar, would surely aim to defend their title, but in the process they would face stiff competition.
The tournament will be played in a bio-bubble for the second year in a row due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Elite A – Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Maharashtra, Goa and Pondicherry (location – Lucknow)
Elite B – Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Mumbai, Baroda and services (location – Guwahati)
Elite C – Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Himachal, Rajasthan, Haryana and Andhra (location – Baroda)
Elite D – Railways, Assam, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala and Bihar (location – Delhi)
Elite E – Uttar Pradesh, Hyderabad, Uttarakhand, Saurashtra, Delhi and Chandigarh (location – Haryana)
Plate – Tripura, Vidarbha, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Manipur, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram (place – Vijayawada).
Delhi knockout matches.