2017-18 Ranji Trophy, round 2: All eyes on Ashwin and Vijay as TN host Tripura; Pujara and Jadeja boost for Saurashtra
After an action-packed beginning to the 2017/18 edition of the Ranji Trophy, the second round of fixtures starting from tomorrow will continue to see the presence of an array of stars from the Indian Test team.
While Ravichandran Ashwin and Murali Vijay turn Tamil Nadu into overwhelming favourites for their Group C clash against an unheralded Tripura outfit at home, the Saurashtra duo of Ravindra Jadeja and Cheteshwar Pujara are expected to make things difficult for the visiting Jammu & Kashmir team in the Group B encounter at the SCA Stadium in Rajkot.
Perennial title contenders Karnataka and Mumbai begin their campaigns in the 2017/18 season against Assam in Group A and Madhya Pradesh in Group C respectively. Punjab's Group D clash against Vidarbha will be another one to watch out for as the experienced Yuvraj Singh returns to action.
Here is an overview of all the fixtures lined up in the Ranji Trophy's second round which will take place between the 14th and 17th of October.
Following their shambolic defeat at the hands of Railways, Uttar Pradesh will have to pick themselves up quickly as a Hyderabad-sized threat awaits them at the Gymkhana Ground. Suresh Raina's team will be hoping to put the memories of last fixture's 72 all out behind them and come up with a befitting display against a side whose previous game was abandoned without a ball bowled.
The formidable Karnataka unit will be eyeing a smooth beginning to their season when they take on Assam in Mysuru. Having been accused of using 'delaying tactics' to emerge from their opening clash against Delhi with a draw, Gokul Sharma's troops could find themselves under immense scrutiny as they aim to compete with another heavyweight from Group A.
Railways and Delhi square off against each other in what should be a fascinating contest at the Karnail Singh Stadium. Newly appointed skipper Ishant Sharma will be eager to showcase his experience against a callow batting lineup.
List of Fixtures
Hyderabad vs Uttar Pradesh at the Gymkhana Ground in Hyderabad
Karnataka vs Assam at the Sri Jayachamarajendra College of Engineering Ground in Mysuru
Railways vs Delhi at the Karnail Singh Stadium in Delhi
Even though they produced a commendable performance in their opening match against Rajasthan, Jammu & Kashmir's mettle will be truly tested against a Saurashtra lineup comprising Ravindra Jadeja and Cheteshwar Pujara. Despite being initially named in the squad, the left-arm spinner did not feature in the game against Haryana. The technically compact right-hander, who also captains the Saurashtra team, will be looking for a substantial score this time around.
In what could be a face-off between raw pace and seasoned skill, fast bowlers Varun Aaron and Pankaj Singh will be raring to go on a seam-friendly surface at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur. Apart from being the spearheads of their bowling attacks, Aaron and Pankaj are also the captains of Jharkhand and Rajasthan respectively.
2016/17 champions Gujarat will start their title defence against an unfancied Kerala outfit in Nadiad. Having switched his allegiance from Uttar Pradesh, leg-spinner Piyush Chawla should strengthen the bowling attack of the Parthiv Patel-led team.
List of Fixtures
Gujarat vs Kerala at the GS Patel Stadium in Nadiad
Rajasthan vs Jharkhand at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur
Saurashtra vs Jammu & Kashmir at the Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA) Stadium in Rajkot
Fresh off a pair of scintillating centuries which ended in vain against Madhya Pradesh, all-rounder Yusuf Pathan will be yearning for a change in Baroda's fortunes as they host Andhra Pradesh in Vadodara. Irfan Pathan leads a strong Baroda lineup which also includes promising youngsters like Deepak Hooda and Atit Sheth.
Traditional bigwigs Mumbai will be without their inspirational captain Aditya Tare for the season opener against Madhya Pradesh in Indore. The 41-time champions are already devoid of the likes of Shreyas Iyer, Prithvi Shaw, Dhawal Kulkarni, Shardul Thakur, Balwinder Sandhu and Tushar Deshpande for various reasons. Suryakumar Yadav will be their stand-in skipper.
With the previous game against Andhra Pradesh generating mixed returns, talismanic off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin will be on the prowl for a high-impact haul as Tamil Nadu host Tripura at the iconic MA Chidambaram Stadium. Opener Murali Vijay, who survived yet another injury scare, should add teeth to the top-order. Meanwhile, wicket-keeper batsman Dinesh Karthik is in a race against time to participate in this match. His flight from Hyderabad, wherein he was part of the Indian squad for the 3rd T20I against Australia, is expected to land in Chennai just hours prior to the start of the game.
List of Fixtures
Baroda vs Andhra Pradesh at the Reliance Stadium in Vadodara
Madhya Pradesh vs Mumbai at the Emerald High School Ground in Indore
Tamil Nadu vs Tripura at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai
Featuring the likes of Wriddhiman Saha, Mohammed Shami and Ashok Dinda, a robust Bengal team will travel to Raipur to take on Chhattisgarh. Considering the presence of numerous senior stars in his camp as well as the opposition's feeble lineup, skipper Manoj Tiwary would want no less than an outright victory.
During the clash between Himachal Pradesh and Goa, all eyes will be on opener Prashant Chopra who is arriving on the back of a career-defining triple century. Having evoked comparisons with legends such as Virender Sehwag, the 25-year-old will be aspiring to continue his rich vein of form with another headline-grabbing knock at the picturesque HPCA Stadium in Dharamsala.
Punjab are likely to receive a major boost in the form of Yuvraj Singh for their face-off against Vidarbha in Mohali. The flamboyant left-hander, whose international future is in considerable doubt, could return to the first-class circuit after almost a year. However, senior off-spinner Harbhajan Singh will continue to be unavailable for selection due to personal reasons.
List of Fixtures
Chhattisgarh vs Bengal at the Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh International Stadium in Raipur
Himachal Pradesh vs Goa at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) Stadium in Dharamsala
Punjab vs Vidarbha at the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali.