The 2011 NKP Salve Challenger Trophy gets underway in Nagpur today where several national-team aspirants will rub shoulders with established India players in the 50-over format. The tournament will - as will the remainder of India's domestic season - incorporate the latest rule changes agreed on by the ICC and its member boards during the annual conference in Hong Kong in July. The changes came into effect on October 1, and were in force for the tour game between England XI and Hyderabad Cricket Academy XI last week.
The rule changes include the abolition of runners, the use of new balls from each end in one-dayers and allowing batting and bowling Powerplays to be taken only between the 16th and 40th overs. In addition, batsmen can be given out 'obstructing the field' if they change their course while running to prevent a run-out chance, and bowlers can run out non-striker's if they back up unfairly.
"There are so many aspects to the rules that I will come to grips with it as the match progresses," S Badrinath, the captain of the India Blue team, was quoted as saying in the Hindu, in response to the new Powerplay regulations.
"The rule changes will bring in a sense of fairplay, help the bowler play a more decisive role in ODIs," Shikhar Dhawan, part of India Red, said. "With the Powerplay not in force from the 41st over, bowlers can perform a lot more freely. Cricket is supposed to be loaded in favour of the batsmen, but the bowlers will also have a say now.
"The quality bowlers who are able to move the ball will be effective as the ball will retain its sheen," he said, about the use of two new balls.
Not everyone felt the changes would benefit the bowlers, though. "It will be like a 25-over game with the new ball," Irfan Pathan, who'll be playing for India Blue, said. "The art of reverse swing with the old ball will reduce. As a bowler, I should not be saying it, but I am looking forward to the challenge.
"Limited-overs cricket will be more entertaining for the crowd with the batsmen likely to hit more boundaries and targets getting re-arranged."
Each team will play each other once in the league stage, with the top two teams progressing to the final that will be played on October 13.
India Blue: S. Badrinath (capt), M Vijay, Paul Valthaty, Manish Pandey, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Mandeep Singh, Saurabh Tiwary, Irfan Pathan, Amit Mishra, Pragyan Ojha, YV Krishanatry, Prashant Parameshwaran, Pradeep Sangwan and Tanmay Srivastava
India Red: Gautam Gambhir (capt), Shikhar Dhawan, Abhinav Mukund, Ambati Rayudu, Ashok Menaria, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Jalaj Saxena, Piyush Chawla, Bhargav Bhatt, Pankaj Singh, Jaydev Unadkat, TP Sudhindra, Yusuf Pathan and RP Singh
India Green: Harbhajan Singh (capt), Robin Uthappa (wk), S Anirudha, T Suman, Mohnish Ishra, Ishank Jaggi, Mohammad Kaif, C Gautham, Sarabjit Ladda, Iqbal Abdulla, Abhimanyu Mithun, Samad Fallah, Ishwar Choudhary and Sumit Narwal