South Zone v North Zone, Duleep Trophy, final October 16, 2013

Sehwag, Gambhir add heft to Duleep title clash

ESPNcricinfo staff

Duleep Trophy, the forgotten tournament that is often played in the background of the Indian domestic season, has got a shot in the arm with Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir joining the North Zone team for the final to be played in Kochi from Thursday onwards. Just the turnaround the tournament needed a week after its semi-final was decided by the toss of a coin. The Delhi batsmen join Harbhajan Singh, Pragyan Ojha and South Zone captain Abhinav Mukund as Test players in the final of the zonal competition.

Gambhir's last Duleep Trophy match came in 2006-07. Sehwag last played in the inter-zonal first-class competition in 2004-05, opening the innings with Gambhir. This time, though, Sehwag is likely to bat in the middle order, a decision he made earlier in the season as he tries to make his way back into the Indian team.

Sehwag's returns since moving down the order haven't been encouraging. He began with a quick 59 in a Challenger Trophy match, but it has been followed by scores of 8 and 5 in one-dayers, and 7 and 38 in the first-class games against West Indies A. Gambhir has had a better time in his fight to stage a comeback. In India A's win in Hubli, he scored only his third first-class century in three years, but the good news from his point of view is that all three have come in this year. Moreover, the incumbent India Test opener, M Vijay, is not playing the final. South Zone, though, will be bolstered by Dinesh Karthik and Stuart Binny, who had been away on Champions League T20 duty.

In the spin department, though, both the discarded veteran and the incumbent will be present. Both are IPL team-mates. Harbhajan, who won the all-important toss to take his team into the final, will captain North Zone; Pragyan Ojha will lead the South Zone spin attack.

The players and subplots are all there, but the Kochi weather remains the big factor after persistent rain and wet outfield allowed only 208 overs in the semi-final. Scattered thunderstorms are predicted between October 17 and 21, with chances of precipitation hovering at around 60%. If the first-innings lead is not resolved inside the five scheduled days, a sixth day can be added to the final. If there isn't a leader identified on first innings even after six days, the teams will share the trophy.

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  • krithivasan on October 18, 2013, 10:11 GMT

    @vivekjagan : don get too carried away by TAMBE!!!! he is jus flash in the pan!!! He s of-course great talent but would hav been awesome had we found him atleast 3 yrs back...@41 do u expect him to be in 2015WC??? Ashwin is far better BAT and he has saved us from few tests!!! even so-called raina is not better than ash in tests!!! any arguements from u?? Am not a blind supporter of ashwin but this is what we have at present!!!!

  • krithivasan on October 18, 2013, 10:08 GMT

    @vivekjagan : all over the world here are the super spinners in descending order...AJMAL(3 formats..legend), Swann(Great in tests but ok in ODI's),Aswhin(till now good in tests...fairly ok in t20),NARINE(greatest in T-20,zero in tests,ok in odi's),Mendis(decent oly in t-20)...I can't find any other from other nations too!!!!

  • krithivasan on October 18, 2013, 10:04 GMT

    @vivekjagan: Kindly be meaningfull when u comment. Is there any sense in going with rasool???? come-on don be too emotional.... May be mishra is fine but none other is worthy!!! Look into these factors..FLAT PITCHES, HEAVY BATS(even miss hits go for 6), SMALL BOUNDARIES, 2NEW BALLS (Mostly old balls turn..with new ball oly u can show variations), POWERPLAYS and so on!!! tell me other than ajmal, who is your so called great spinner??? SWANN is good in tests only! But ashwin plays all 3 formats!!! NARINE is a joke in tests!!!! come-on man don thrash ashwin...Jus hail his talent...He s gonna take 100 test wickets!!! Even the great shane earne failed in INDIA!!!! MURALI fails often in AUS !!! did so called murali(with all respect) good against india????? MISHRA can be tried fine but dont be telling RASOOL!!!! Let him play couple more season and lets see and then bring in RASOOL

  • Dummy4 on October 18, 2013, 8:24 GMT

    i think they should make the coin ready to decide the winner. This is ridiculous that even after knowing way back about weather, BCCI did not bother to change the venue, when the career of so many renowned cricketer is at stake. Hope the weather god permits some quality play to test the bench strength.

  • Dummy4 on October 18, 2013, 2:20 GMT

    I want this guy Dinesh Karthick to perform and knock the door of selectors. He is most unfortunate to be dropped for australia series despite performing well. Hope he is not next Badrinath!

  • Dummy4 on October 17, 2013, 16:35 GMT

    Seheag will be back for sure. More consistent than rohit any day in any format.

  • jagannathan on October 17, 2013, 14:50 GMT

    i agree with paras rishi.. Dhoni s not interested to play Mishra despite the struggles of Ashwin in the recent past.i dont know why ashwin is given so much importance.In ODIs he has not done a major role. India still lack a quality spinner in ODIs and tests overseas.they need to try some wicket taking bowlers . I still feel mishra,tambe,rasool to be given chance fr atleast 2 series. and they can also make ashwin play some list a games allow him to get back to rhythm.he has shown his wicket taking skills only against nz and weaker wi team.. both are not good test teams. for a stronger wc team they ve to start nurturing a spinner now

  • jagannathan on October 17, 2013, 14:44 GMT

    Its really disheartening to see these matches washed out..only with these performances the players can get some confidence . the organisers can easily change the venue for these list a games. Atleast for the final ,they can share the trophy if all six days doesnt produce any leader on first innings ..

  • Dummy4 on October 17, 2013, 13:57 GMT

    No news / discussion about the future prospects...Aparajith has scored a double and a ton in successive matches (last two)...definitely a bright prospect for a test slot. Great fielder in slips too!

  • Dummy4 on October 17, 2013, 13:43 GMT

    LOL!! a coin will decide the winner of a final match too!!

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