Vijay Hazare Trophy 2018-19: First impressions of 9 new teams
BCCI has done a commendable job by getting in eight new teams for the current domestic season. With the World Cup to follow after the end of the 2018-19 domestic season and the Indian Premier League, the management would have seen all they would like to pick the best fifteen.
But what is even heartening is the fact that native players from most regions of the country would directly feature for their teams this time around. BCCI has introduced 6 teams from the north-east: Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh; a team for the relatively new political state of Uttarakhand; one for the Union Territory Puducherry and has reinstated Bihar after 15 years.
Many senior and renowned players have been transferred from the established teams to the new teams, including players like Abhishek Nayar, Pragyan Ojha and Taruwar Kohli now representing new teams. Though the domestic season began with the Duleep Trophy less than a month ago, the teams got a first chance to play during the Vijay Hazare Trophy, where all the teams have played only two of their minimum of eight matches in the first round.
Let us have a look at how each team has fared, and the players who have stood out in the first round of matches.
Manipur's opening two matches in the Vijay Hazare Trophy proved to be a mixed bag. While their first match against Puducherry proved to be a one-sided, eight-wicket defeat; the only notable performances for them were those of young opening batsman Lakhan Rawat, veteran batsman Yashpal Singh and medium pacer Bishworjit Konthoujam.
They turned the tables around in their next match against Sikkim though, bowling them out for 84 while bowling first. While Bishworjit stood out with three wickets, Rajkumar Singh and Thoudam Singh both took two wickets apiece. Lakhan Rawat and Pukhrambam Singh batted cautiously to provide their team with a ten-wicket win to fetch their first points this season.