Duleep Trophy: All eyes on Rahane, Shaw in West vs NE 

After two years of truncated calendar due to the pandemic, a full-fledged Indian domestic cricket season (2022-23) is all set to get underway, with the Duleep Trophy quarterfinals between West Zone and North East Zone starting on Thursday at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium.

The tournament returns to the zonal format after a few years in which it was played among three teams picked by the national selectors and mainly used as trials for pink-ball matches.

If reputations and pedigree stay true, this quarterfinal could well end up being a lop-sided contest in favour of West Zone.

The team has players with international and IPL experience — Ajinkya Rahane, Prithvi Shaw, Rahul Tripathi, Jaydev Unadkat and Chetan Sakariya, to name a few.

North East does not have the same luxury and comprises just inexperienced local talent. The selectors have not included professionals who play for the various North East teams in the other BCCI tournaments.

More than the result, all eyes will be on how West skipper Rahane and opener Shaw use the fixture to score runs and find a way back into the Test side.

“I’m looking forward to starting from zero again. We will see what happens in the future and I believe it is important to be in the moment and focus on what’s in hand right now rather than focus on your future,” said Rahane ahead of the match.

“You always get goosebumps when you go on the field and I always like that feeling. When you get that, you get the motivation, whether it is a domestic game or an international one,” he added

The 34-year-old is back after suffering a hamstring injury during the IPL.

“The rehab was really good. It took me two months to get fit. I had to follow a strict diet and routine for those two months, but it was really good. I just want to be fit throughout the season and keep scoring runs,” said Rahane.

The teams (from):

West Zone: Ajinkya Rahane (Capt.), Prithvi Shaw, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Hardik Tamore (wk), Shams Mulani, Tanish Kotian, Rahul Tripathi, Satyajeet Bachhav, Het Patel, Chintan Gaja, Jaydev Unadkat, Chirag Jani, Atit Sheth and Chetan Sakariya.

North East Zone: Hokaito Zhimomi(Capt.), Jonathan Rongsen, Khrievitso Kense, Muhammed Al Bashid, L. Kishan Singha, Bishworjit Singh Konthoujam, Rajkumar Rex Singh, Ashish Thapa, Ankur Malik, Techi Neri, Techi Doria, Dippu Sangma, Kishan Lyngdoh, G. Lalbiakvela and Bobby Zothansanga.

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