Ranji Trophy 2017-2018: 6 teams that can go all the way
Analysing the front-runners in India's premier domestic tournament.
While the rest of the nation is busy revelling in the success of the Indian team in the recently concluded bilateral series against the mighty Australians, India's domestic players are rigorously going through the grind to prepare themselves for the most prestigious tournament in the domestic circuit, the Ranji Trophy which is all set to kick off from tomorrow.
Unlike in the previous seasons, this time the 28 teams have been divided into four groups with the top two sides from each group qualifying for the quarter-finals.
With an opportunity to impress the selectors before the Test series against the Proteas, the iconic tournament provides an ideal platform for the young turks to showcase their talent on the national stage.
The initial rounds of the competition will provide plenty of glamour as most of the Test specialists are all set to feature for their respective sides. While Tamil Nadu has been bolstered by the inclusion of Murali Vijay and Ravichandran Ashwin, the fortunes of Saurashtra will largely depend on the performance of Cheteshwar Pujara.
With the chance to stake a claim for a spot in the national side, there is plenty to play for as the players gear up for this premier event which is spread over the span of three months.
Here is the preview of the top six teams who are the front-runners for the coveted title.
Gujarat created history by lifting the title for the first time ever since the team's inception after defeating Mumbai in the summit clash last season at Indore. The Parthiv Patel-led outfit has been one of the most consistent teams in the domestic circuit for the past couple of years.
The opening combination of Priyank Panchal and Samit Gohel will shoulder the batting responsibility along with the skipper, while the bowling department will be led by veteran RP Singh. The left arm pacer was instrumental in the team's victorious campaign last season as he used his wealth of experience to guide the youngsters in the team and produce match-winning performances.
The bowling unit will be also be boosted by the inclusion of Piyush Chawla for the upcoming season. The leg-spinner has struggled to cement his place in the national side and would be hoping to create a significant impact with his new team.
The defending champions will start their campaign against Kerala at Nadiad in round two of the competition.
Squad: Yet to be announced