Home > Features >

Harbhajan Singh spoilt for choices as Rest of India take on Karnataka in Irani Cup

Harbhajan Singh © Getty Images
Harbhajan Singh will be looking to make his mark in the Irani Cup game against Karnataka © Getty Images

Rest of India and Karnataka take on each other for the Irani Cup at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore. Nishad Pai Vaidya reports from ground zero…

With an air of hope, the players of the Rest of India (ROI) squad trained at the nets behind the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore; preparing to take on Karnataka in the Irani Cup. While players such as Gautam Gambhir, Harbhajan Singh and Dinesh Karthik were the major star attractions, Ankit Bawne, Kedar Jadhav and Parvez Rasool would be the other players looking to make a mark. This is a great platform for such players, one where they can make a statement with the selectors keeping a close eye. It is after all ‘The Best vs the Rest.”

Harbhajan, the ROI captain and coach Lalchand Rajput have a few tough choices to make. After all, they have some of the best domestic performers and a few Indian internationals at their disposal. If one looks at the bowling department, ROI are spoilt for choices. Varun Aaron, Ashok Dinda, Pankaj Singh and Anureet Singh make up the pacers. Harbhajan, Amit Mishra and all-rounder Rasool are the spinning options. To pick four or five out of this roster is tough and ROI may first look at getting their batting line-up right.

  

Gautam Gambhir is set to open the batting and he remains on the selectors radar. Jiwanjot Singh, the Punjab opener also seems to be a frontrunner to open the innings with Gambhir. Harbhajan praised Jiwanjot, while talking to the media after practice on Saturday, “Jiwanjot is a very good player, got a good temperament, bats session by session and likes to grind the bowlers. He is still new, has shown the ability and I’m sure one day he will open for India. He has the technique and mindset for an opener.”

There are some questions over the No 3 spot as Bawne, Natraj Behara and Baba Aparajith are the contenders. In all likelihood, it looks like Aparajith may get the nod as Bawne has batted majorly in the middle-order for Maharashtra. Behara is an opener and more of a backup for Gambhir and Jiwanjot. At No 4, you have the season’s highest run-scorer, Kedar Jadhav. He was the go-to man for Maharashtra and is someone who could force the issue. At No 4, he would form the fulcrum of the batting line-up.

Then we have another toss-up in the middle. If Bawne or Aparajith do not get a spot at the top, they would get in at No 5. But, there is also a Mandeep Singh, who can be aggressive at that spot and he will compete for that spot. Dinesh Karthik, the wicketkeeper would be at No 6. And then, we move into the dilemma zone.

Rasool has had a great all-round season and there is a temptation to play him at No 7. Although he bats at No 4 for Jammu and Kashmir, he is more of a bowling all-rounder in national representative sides. Plus, his off-spin can be quite handy and he can form a good partnership with Harbhajan. However, Mishra is also in the ranks and he would be searching for some form. He has been with the Indian side for months and has spent a major chunk on the sidelines. Being the more senior player, he can come in at No 7 as he is a decent batsman.

Given the nature of the pitch at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, ROI have to play three seamers on what seems to be a green surface. As a result, Dinda, Pankaj and Aaron may get the nod as they are Indian internationals and Anureet may have to bide his time for an opportunity. Coach Rajput is keeping his cards close to his chest and didn’t reveal the likely combination when asked by the media. “We will let you know tomorrow. We have got four pacers; we will select the best three,” Rajput said.

Traditionally, the Irani Cup was a season opener, but now it closes the First-Class leg. Thus, the winning team comes in with a momentum, yet it is a tough task to beat ROI. This game is important on many counts. “It is a big game for each and every one of us. If we all perform, it helps the team’s cause,” declared Harbhajan.

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)

World T20 League 2014

Sep 21, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

World T20 League 2014

Sep 21, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

World T20 League 2014

Sep 22, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Bengaluru

World T20 League 2014

Sep 23, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Raipur

World T20 League 2014

Sep 24, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

More

World T20 League 2014

Sep 20, 2014  at Mohali

Kings XI Punjab won by 4 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 20, 2014  at Mohali

Perth Scorchers won by 6 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 19, 2014  at Raipur

NK won by 33 runs (D/L method)

World T20 League 2014

Sep 18, 2014  at Mohali

Kings XI Punjab won by 5 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 17, 2014  at Hyderabad

Kolkata Knight Riders won by 3 wkts

Photos

KXIP vs Hobart Hurricanes, Match 2 CLT20 2014

Videos

Anderson plays golf with Jaguar competition winners

CLT20 2014: Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) vs Lahore Lions (LL), Match 7: 5 Key battles

Before Mitchell Marsh, Surinder Amarnath had hit sixes off last two balls to win a match in England

James Franklin: Barbados Tridents have youngsters who can win games

Kings XI Punjab vs Barbados Tridents, Match 5, CLT20 2014: Highlights

CLT20 2014: Mitchell Marsh stakes his claim for a spot in Australia’s ICC World Cup 2015 squad with late blitz for Perth Scorchers against Dolphins

Asian Games Asian Games 2014 Cape Cobras Champions League T20 2014 Chennai Super Kings CLT20 CLT20 2014 Hobart Hurricanes India at Asian Games 2014 Kings XI Punjab Kolkata Knight Riders Northern Knights

Cape Cobras vs Hobart Hurricanes Live Streaming CLT20 2014 Match 6 at Mohali

Cape Cobras vs Hobart Hurricanes Live Cricket Score CLT20 2014 Match 6 at Hyderabad

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) vs Lahore Lions (LL), Match 7, CLT20 2014: KKR likely XI

CLT20 2014 Live Scorecard: Cape Cobras vs Hobart Hurricanes

Waqar Younis hopeful of Pakistan’s chances in ICC World Cup 2015

CLT20 2014: Akshar Patel once again reaffirms his all-round abilities

Cape Cobras vs Hobart Hurricanes, Match 6, CLT20 2014: Cape Cobras’s likely XI

Cape Cobras vs Hobart Hurricanes CLT20 2014 Match 6: Hobart Hurricane’s likely XI

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) vs Lahore Lions, Match 7, CLT20 2014: Lahore’s likely XI

Cape Cobras vs Hobart Hurricanes, Match 6, CLT20 2014: Key battles

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

669 Posts | 6 Fans

Video Highlights: Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) vs Hobart Hurricanes (HH) CLT20 2014

France asks India to finalise joint missile project soon

Khoobsurat: 6 reasons why this Sonam Kapoor and Fawad Khan starrer should not be on your weekend platter

Saudi man asks future brother-in-law to give iPhone 6 as dowry

Oculus unveils its new VR headset Crescent Bay, features 360-degree head tracking, improved display, and integrated audio

Priyanka Chopra gets 7 million followers on Twitter!

Kaun Banega Crorepati 7: Shahid Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor strike a pose with Amtabh Bachchan

Actress Rani Mukerji promotes Mumbai police initiative ‘Make Way for Ambulance campaign’

Happy New Year: Deepika Padukone looks super hot in Lovely song!

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here