December 22, 2013 3:11:33 am
Himachal Pradesh captain Rishi Dhawan’s eyes must have lit up when he had a look at the green track laid out for his side at the MCA stadium in Pune. After all,Dhawan has 47 scalps to his name in seven games this season.
Himachal Pradesh,with three outright wins,all of them coming in seamer-friendly conditions at Dharamasala and Agartala,are currently second in an increasingly tight group C table with 24 points. Maharashtra whose two outright wins have both come at Gahunje,are two points behind Himachal with 22 points to their name.
Understandably,the Maharashtra batsman were working hard at the nets. For the home side,India under-19 captain Vijay Zol,away on national duty,will be replaced at the top of the order by Maharashtra skipper,Rohit Motwani. Otherwise,Maharashtra this season have relied heavily on Kedar Jadhav and Harshad Khadiwale. The latter has already amassed 773 runs in 10 innings this season while Jadhav is not too far behind with 697 runs in nine innings.
Their bowling though,has been the weak-link,often taking too long to bowl out opponents. In the previous round against Kerala,Maharashtra’s Akshay Darekar,the team’s highest wicket-taker with 20 wickets from six matches was reported for a suspect action,the second player to be reported after pacer Sachin Chaudhari was called in the season’s second game against Hyderabad.
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