Home > News >

Irani Cup 2014 Preview: Harbhajan Singh leads strong Rest of India against Ranji champions Karnataka

Irani Cup 2014 Preview: Harbhajan Singh leads strong Rest of India against Ranji champions Karnataka
Gautam Gambhir (left) and Jiwanjot Singh are likely to open the batting for Rest of India, forming a right-left combination © PTI

By Nishad Pai Vaidya

Bangalore: Feb 8, 2014

Karnataka, the Ranji Trophy 2013-14 champions have a task on their hands within days of lifting the premier domestic tournament. They now face a formidable Rest of India (ROI) side, led by the veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, for the Irani Cup at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore from Sunday.

Normally, ROI are too strong and have often beaten the Ranji champions, but given the balance in the Karnataka ranks, it promises to be a good contest.

Karnataka have had a very consistent unit right through the season. Although they had a few players who were laid low by injury, their replacements did a fantastic job. There were players on the bench who were up for the challenge and ready to perform whenever given a chance. One would have felt that they would have gone in with the same side that won the Ranji Trophy final at Hyderabad, but with Stuart Binny back in the side, they are likely to make changes in the playing eleven.

But then, who goes out? The top three are well settled and cannot be moved. Manish Pandey, Karun Nair and CM Gautam form the core in the middle and will hold on to their spots. Which means Amit Verma may have to make way and it is quite unfortunate as he scored a ton in the semi-final and did decently well in the final.

HS Sharath,  is also back in contention and that may mean that Sreenath Aravind may have to sit out as R Vinay Kumar and Abhimanyu Mithun are the frontline options for Karnataka.

ROI have a good side and many options to ponder. This game is very important for them and Harbhajan echoed those sentiments at the pre-match press conference. He said, “Every game is important. These kind of matches — being on TV — everyone is looking to perform to the best of their abilities. Obviously selectors will also be watching very closely. [It is a] great opportunity for the guys from both sides. I am sure everyone’s looking forward to it.”

Gautam Gambhir and Jiwanjot Singh will open the batting, forming a right-left combination. There are questions over the No 3 spot as Natraj Behara, Ankit Bawne and Baba Aparajith are the contenders. Those who miss out on the spot at the top will then compete with Mandeep Singh for the role at No 5. Kedar Jadhav is likely  to bat at No 4 as that is where he has made an impact for Maharashtra.

Lower down the order, Dinesh Karthik would occupy the wicketkeeper’s spot at No 6. Then there is a tussle for No 7 as Parvez Rasool, the all-rounder and leg-spinner Amit Mishra would compete for it. Harbhajan would be at No 8. Then come the fast bowlers. ROI have options in Pankaj Singh, Varun Aaron, Anureet Singh and Ashok Dinda.

Coach Lalchand Rajput did not reveal his choices but said that they will play three seamers. By the looks of things, Anureet may miss out to the three India internationals.

The wicket at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium has a greenish tinge to it and one would back the seamers to get some purchase. Historically, it has always been a good wicket, with something for both departments. Rajput said, “Not looking too much at the pitch, but I can assure [you] it will be a very good game.”


Karnataka: R Vinay Kumar (c), Robin Uthappa, KL Rahul, Ganesh Sathish, Stuart Binny, CM Gautam (wk), Manish Pandey, Amit Verma, Mayank Agarwal, Karun Nair, Shreyas Gopal, HS Sharath, Abhimanyu Mithun, Sreenath Aravind, Abrar Kazi, Ronit More.

Rest of India: Harbhajan Singh (c), Gautam Gambhir, Jiwanjot Singh, Natraj Behara, Ankit Bawne, Kedar Jadhav, Baba Aparajith, Mandeep Singh, Parvez Rasool, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Amit Mishra, Pankaj Singh, Varun Aaron, Ashok Dinda, Anureet Singh.

Time: 09:30 IST | 03:00 GMT

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 20, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Kolkata

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 21, 2014 (03:00 IST)   at Mount Maunganui

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Dubai

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (19:00 IST)   at Cuttack

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 24, 2014 (03:00 IST)   at Mount Maunganui


West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 17, 2014  at Dharamsala

India won by 59 runs

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 14, 2014  at Visakhapatnam

Match cancelled

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 12, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Australia won by 1 run

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 11, 2014  at Delhi

India won by 48 runs

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 10, 2014  at Dubai

Australia won by 5 wkts


India vs West Indies 4th ODI at Dharamsala


AB de Villiers speaks ahead of New Zealand ODIs

South Africa vs New Zealand 2014: 5 memorable matches

Yasir Shah: The new spinning sensation for Pakistan

Virat Kohli takes wicket with the first (0th?) ball of his T20I career

Kevin Pietersen’s autobiography — a litany of complaints with a few redeeming patches

Banning West Indian players in IPL can affect the ‘Brand value’ of the event – Will BCCI take this gamble?

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 BCCI India India vs West Indies India vs West Indies 2014 New Zealand Pakistan Salaam Cricket South Africa West Indies West Indies cancel India tour 2014 West Indies tour of India 2014 West Indies vs India West Indies vs India 2014

Live Cricket Score: New Zealand vs South Africa, 1st ODI at Mount Maunganui

Live Scorecard: New Zealand vs South Africa, 1st ODI at Mount Maunganui

Kevin Pietersen is probably the best cricketer I have played with: Eoin Morgan

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: SLC defend decision to tour

Jesse Ryder’s New Zealand comeback possible: Mike Hesson

James Neesham can provide more impetus to New Zealand’s weakened batting up the order

Virender Sehwag turns 36: Five most memorable innings of the Nawab of Najafgarh

New Zealand begin ICC World Cup 2015 preparations with 15 ODIs in store

Virender Sehwag paid birthday tribute to by Sophos Antivirus

South Africa vs New Zealand 2014: 5 memorable matches

Fan of the Day

Gautam Singh

Gautam Singh

474 Posts | 5 Fans

Video Highlights Mohammed Yousuf drops catch after watching a girl in bikini

अभिनेत्री हुमा कुरैशी ओरिफ्लेम की ब्रांड एंबेसडर

Has Bigg Boss 8 made Karishma Tanna the most hated person?

Pranab Mukherjee returns home after visit to Norway, Finland

Revealed: First look of Amitabh Bachchan-Farhan Akhtar’s Do!

7 reasons why having sex during pregnancy is great for your health

Videocon Infinium Graphite with gesture control feature launched, priced at Rs 10,499

Rupee up 19 paise against dollar in early trade

Twitter introduces Audio Cards to listen to music directly from your timeline

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here