India’s domestic season kicks off on Sunday with the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. The coronavirus pandemic has made the situation a little more complicated, as players need to focus not only on their games, but also on bio-calling protocols and safety regulations. But the T20 tournament will be the perfect opportunity for the young and fringe players to impress the national selectors in view of the 2021 T20 World Cup.
According to the tournament format, the teams are divided into six groups, five of which fall under the Elite category and one under the Plate category.
League matches will be played in Mumbai, Vadodara, Indore, Kolkata, Chennai and Bengaluru and the knockouts will take place at Motera Stadium, Ahmedabad.
After having to postpone the start of the domestic season due to the pandemic, the BCCI is organizing the T20 tournament at six locations with biobubbles.
The course of the tournament will go a long way in deciding not only whether more domestic competitions can be held this season, but whether the next edition of the Indian Premier League can be played in the country.
India’s packed international calendar usually forces the big names to miss the tournament, but this time would be different as Shikhar Dhawan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ishant Sharma will be seen in action.
While Dhawan would like to keep his form going, Mumbai skipper Suryakumar Yadav will try to use the tournament to finally break into the national team.
He’s been knocking on the doors of the selectors for a while now and at another good tournament he’s sure to add pressure.
There are also some youngsters like Ruturaj Gaikwad, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Sarfaraz Khan and Priyam Garg who would like to show their metal and it would be interesting to see them closing horns against experienced campaigners like Ishant and Bhuvneshwar among others.
Speaking of experience, Kerela pacer S Sreesanth’s return to the state team has made headlines during the tournament and it will be interesting to see how he fares as the pacer returns after serving a ban for his alleged involvement in the 2013 IPL spot-fix scandal.
Bhuvneshwar has been appointed to the Uttar Pradesh team and is making a comeback after being injured in the IPL.
The pacer would now try to prove his eligibility to be selected for the upcoming series against England and the bowler would also try to kill the T20 World Cup squad as a prime over specialist.
Suresh Raina, who retired last year, will also be featured in the Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy for Uttar Pradesh and is eager to compete in the upcoming IPL 2021.
Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy groups are as follows:
Elite Group A: Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Railways, Tripura (location: Bengaluru)
Elite Group B: Odisha, Bengal, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Hyderabad (location: Kolkata)
Elite Group C: Gujarat, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Baroda, Uttarakhand (location: Vadodara)
Elite Group D: Services, Saurashtra, Vidarbha, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Goa (location: Indore)
Elite Group E: Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Mumbai, Kerala, Puducherry (Location: Mumbai)
Plate group: Chandigarh, Meghalaya, Bihar, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh (Location: Chennai).
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