Senior opener Murali Vijay will be eager to get back into the groove with some much-needed game time when his side India Green take on the Reds under lights in the opening encounter of the Duleep Trophy.
The BCCI was forced to squeeze in the Duleep Trophy in the domestic calender after technical committee chairman Sourav Ganguly insisted that the experiment with pink-ball must continue.
It will be a good chance for Test specialist Vijay to play some first-class cricket having last played the format against Australia, last March.
The 34-year-old Vijay has played a few games in the Tamil Nadu Premier League T20 coming into Duleep Trophy.
However, it will be his first tryst with the pink ball unlike his statemate and Reds captain Abhinav Mukund, who had played the inaugural pink ball edition at Greater Noida, last year.
Vijay is one of the most dependable batsmen of the Test side and his inputs will be seriously considered by the bigwigs of the BCCI.
Ditto for India’s second Test triple centurion Karun Nair, who has now fallen off the radar. He would like to use this platform to get back in contention.
For Vijay’s captain Parthiv Patel, the idea would be to score as many runs as possible which would keep him in contention as Wriddhiman Saha’s understudy when India travel to South Africa next year.
Gujarat opener Priyank Panchal, highest scorer in the last edition of Ranji Trophy, missed out on the A tour to South Africa due to illness and will be eager to prove his mettle in front of the national selection committee, which will pick the A team for the home series against Kiwi A team.
The tournament will also be an acid test for Rishabh Pant, who was the brightest find of the last season and since then has made his international debut in the shortest format. That he will be keeping wickets despite presence of Dinesh Karthik is a testimony of selector’s confidence in his abilities plus the Tamil Nadu stumper’s reluctance to don big gloves.
Pant was unimpressive during India A’s tour of South Africa and would like to redeem himself with some good knocks in conditions that will be different and challenging.
Thursday’s match: India Red vs India Green
India Red: Abhinav Mukund (captain), Priyank Panchal, Sudeep Chatterjee, Ishank Jaggi, Ambati Rayudu, Dinesh Karthik, Rishabh Pant (wk), Baba Indrajith, Krishnappa Gowtham, Karn Sharma, Basil Thampi, Dhawal Kulkarni, Ashoke Dinda, Rahul Singh, Chama Milind
India Green: Murali Vijay, Ravikumar Samarth, Prashant Chopra, Shreyas Iyer, Karun Nair, Ankit Bawne, Parthiv Patel , Shahbaz Nadeem, Parveez Rasool, Navdeep Saini, Mohammed Siraj, Siddharth Kaul, Mayank Dagar, Navdeep Saini, Aniket Chaudhary.