Vijay Hazare Trophy 2019: Preview and key players to watch out for | 24th September 2019
The 18th season of the Vijay Hazare Trophy, the 50-over tournament, kicks off from September 24th at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Dehradun. Plate division team Nagaland is scheduled to play Manipur in this tournament’s first match. The Vijay Hazare trophy provides a perfect platform for newcomers as well as many Indian discards who aim to force their way back into the national side.
The Plate division games will be played in Dehardun while Baroda, Bengaluru and Jaipur shall witness games of the Elite Groups A, B and C. A total of nine teams will feature in Group A and B while Group C and Plate group will have 10. The quarter-final line-up will see five teams from both Groups A and B, two from Group C and only one from Plate group forming the core. The tournament has a round-robin and playoff format, where each team gets to play each other at least once.
Defending champions Mumbai start as firm favourites under the able leadership of captain Shreyas Iyer and the experienced Dhawal Kulkarni, as they take on a strong Saurashtra team led by paceman Jaydev Unadkat at the KSCA Cricket Ground. Last years runner-up Delhi will be aiming to finish one step ahead to win the trophy on October 25th at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru, when they take on two-time Ranji Trophy champions Vidarbha.
India bowler Navdeep Saini, who took the priceless wickets of Ajinkya Rahane, Prithvi Shaw and Suryakumar Yadav in last year’s final, will be looking to make the most of his limited international experience to troublesome of the established Indian batsman making their appearance this year round. The beginning of this year’s tournament will put a good deal of media attention on the return of former India player and current Hyderabad captain Ambati Rayudu after his announcement to retire from all formats of the game post a non-selection into the India World Cup squad.
Five-time winners Tamil Nadu will be captained by Indian keeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik, a team that also feature the likes of Murali Vijay, Indian T20 all-rounder Washington Sundar and the controversial Vijay Shankar. Former India Test opener Abhinav Mukund also features in the list. Not far behind are Karnataka, who have lifted the tournament thrice in 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2017-18.
Middle-order batsman Manish Pandey will captain the side that also has Lokesh Rahul bolstering the batting depth. For Rahul, the tournament will give an option to rekindle his hopes of cementing a place in the Indian side in all three formats. Last year’s runner-up Delhi will be hoping to see some fireworks from Indian wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant as he continues to make headlines with his unorthodox shot selections. News of Shikhar Dhawan participating in some games are also doing the rounds.
The tournament’s lucky losers Bengal, who have finished second on five occasions, will be relying on the expertise of former captain Manoj Tiwari and bowler Ashok Dinda to deliver the goods this time around. Kerala will feature a new captain in 33-year-old Robin Uthappa along with the immensely talented and highly-rated wicketkeeper-batsman Sanju Samson, who enjoyed a good run with the India A side recently.
The stage is set for India Test opener and Andhra captain Hanuma Vihari to prove his credentials as a limited-overs performer as well and reply to the critics with the willow. Vice-captain of the winning under-19 World Cup team, Shubman Gill, will be a part of the Punjab side and will look to continue his purple patch, that includes a Test call-up to the national side against South Africa, under the captaincy of Royal Challengers Bangalore batsman Mandeep Singh.
Chandigarh will form a notable maiden entry into India’s domestic circuit, with the Vijay Hazare trophy being their first. At 41, Mumbaikar Wasim Jaffer will lead two-time Ranji Trophy champions Vidarbha, who also boast of Indian spearhead Umesh Yadav.
With the test series against South Africa round the corner, squad members like Indian captain Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Rishabh Pant might only be available for the latter stages of the tournament. Nevertheless, Indian cricket fans are in for a star-studded domestic tournament with eyes on various future and neglected stars having a go at each other for the title with an eye on the most important prize - Indian cricket team.
Also See - Vijay Hazare Schedule 2019