Dharamshala: As soon as you get off the plane, the lofty, icy peaks of the Dhauladhar mountain range welcome you to one of the most beautiful hill stations in India. Nestled in the lap of nature, this tourist town charms you with its surreal beauty, transporting you far away from the hustle and bustle of urban life.
However, you do wonder if this tourist town is indeed the right location to stage this year’s edition of the Deodhar Trophy — an annual fixture which has gained in importance this time considering the few berths which are available, especially in the Indian middle-order, for the ODI World Cup next summer in England.
On the eve of the opening game of a tournament which provides some of the top players of the country a chance to make a case for themselves in India’s One-day team, one couldn’t see either of the three teams on show — India A, India B and Vijay Hazare champions Karnataka — hold their net practice. Many of the players, who’re supposed to be turning out for either India A or B in the opener on Sunday, were still on road.
To make it worse, the weatherman doesn’t have good news for this part of the world. It’s been drizzling for the past few days and things may get worse. Hope lies in the fact that the grounds boasts of a fine drainage system and huge manpower to get the ground ready.
Still, the four day/night games here from March 4 to 8 at the HPCA Stadium offer plenty of hope for some exciting cricketers in the country.
The topmost name in the list of those to watch out for is a certain Mayank Agarwal, whose exclusion from the Indian team for the Nidahas Trophy in Sri Lanka, being played at almost the same time as this event, has made as much news as the 2141 runs he has scored in 30 innings to record the best domestic season by a batsman in India. Ignored despite enjoying a dream run, the Karnataka opener will be eager to prove his class yet again in front of chief selector MSK Prasad and his colleague Sarandeep Singh, who’ll witness this tourney first-hand.
While Agarwal has scorched the domestic season, another opener who’s pleasantly emerged from near-obscurity is Unmukt Chand. The 24-year-old, who had faded away after leading India to Under-19 World Cup glory in Australia almost six years back, showed guts of steel to stave off a broken jaw and pile up 323 runs in seven games at 46.14 in domestic one-dayers. There will be a battle for the middle-order spots involving the likes of Shreyas Iyer, Karun Nair and perhaps even Suryakumar Yadav. The performances of U-19 World Cup batting heroes, Prithvi Shaw and Shubhman Gill should be worth tracking. Source : timesofindia