Duleep Trophy: South Zone face West Zone in an all-star final

10:55 AM Jul 11, 2023 | PTI |

Bengaluru: The South Zone and West Zone players will look to bridge the gap between the collective goal of a title win and their personal targets when they face each other in the Duleep Trophy final, starting here from Wednesday.


From a team perspective, West have a proud record to preserve. They have appeared in 34 Duleep Trophy finals so far, winning 19 of them.

They are the most successful team in this tournament and South will be eager to end that hegemony by winning a 14th title for themselves.

South might also have a point to prove as they had lost to Ajinkya Rahane-led West Zone by a massive 294 runs in the Duleep Trophy final last year.

As it occurs in any team contest, Duleep Trophy also works as a vehicle to achieve certain individual objectives. Cheteshwar Pujara offers the most telltale example.


The veteran India batter was dropped from the India squad for the West Indies tour. The omission might certainly have left him a bruised man.

But the Saurashtra star did not confine himself to a dark corner. He flew to Bengaluru and made a solid 133 for West Zone in the semifinal against Central Zone, leading his side’s entry into the title clash.

He will be eyeing another big outing in the final. That willingness to grind shown by a man, who has played 103 Tests and scored over 7000 runs, will work as a pathway for many others from both the teams.

Mayank Agarwal, vice-captain of South, Sarfaraz Khan and Prithvi Shaw have come to this match riding on heaps of runs that they have made in the previous Ranji season.

Mayank made two fifties (76 & 54) in the quarterfinals against North Zone but the West pair of Prithvi and Sarfaraz failed to kick on. The trio will seek a better outing this week.

Hanuma Vihari and Washington Sundar too need a serious effort but for a different reason than the aforementioned troika.

Vihari last appeared for India in 2022 during the Birmingham Test against England, while Washington played against Sri Lanka in the white-ball series earlier this year.

However, injuries and competition for spots have curtailed their progress in Test cricket. Now, they would like to dish out an impact performance here, and return among the contenders list.

N Tilak Varma, who has been recently drafted into India’s T20I squad to face West Indies, would like to underline his red-ball credentials, as his stated aim is to be an all-format player.

These are all players who have been in the headlines for a while now. But then there are players like B Sai Sudarshan, R Sai Kishore, Vysakh Vijayakumar, Vidwath Kaverappa etc who would be keen to lift the veil of relative unfamiliarity and show their wares in the longer format.

That jostle over the next five days will be an intense watch.


South Zone: Hanuma Vihari (captain), Mayank Agarwal (vice-captain), Sai Sudharsan, Ricky Bhui (wk), R Samarth, Washington Sundar, Sachin Baby, Pradosh Ranjan Paul, Sai Kishore, V Kaverappa, V Vyshak, KV Sasikanth, Darshan Misal, N Tilak Varma.

West Zone: Priyank Panchal (captain), Cheteshwar Pujara, Suryakumar Yadav, Harvik Desai (wk), Prithvi Shaw, Het Patel (wk), Sarfaraz Khan, Arpit Vasavada, Atit Seth, Shams Mulani, Kedar Jadhav, Dharmendrasinh Jadeja, Tushar Deshpande, Chintan Gaja, Arzan Nagwaswalla.

Match starts at: 9.30 AM IST.


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