Ishant Sharma and Pankaj Singh called to play Duleep Trophy

Rain on Monday continued to threaten the match, which becomes important for Ishant, who has not played any competitive cricket for six months.

Ravi Shastri
India’s cricketer Ishant Sharma delivers a ball as coach Ravi Shastri looks on. (Photo by LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/Getty Images)

The India Blue team has called up Ishant Sharma and Pankaj Singh in their squad with the national selectors striving to put up a decent combination for the penultimate round match of the Duleep Trophy 2017-18 starting at the Green Park Stadium in Kanpur on Tuesday.

India Green and India Blue find themselves in a must-win situation, Parthiv Patel led Green will take on Blue, which has a draw against India Red that boosts their chances of making it to the final. India Red is assured of a place in the title contest following its victory over India Green in the opening match of the tournament, which wears a relatively depleted look this season.

The prestigious Duleep Trophy has now become just another domestic competition heavily dependent on the will of players and few administrators as shown by the incident where it was almost dropped from the annual domestic calendar this year.

From a five-team zonal competition, it is now modified to a three-squad tournament where India Blue, Red and Green play each other under floodlights with the pink ball. Players have had issues with sighting the pink ball under lights but the organisers have not paid much heed to their complaints yet.

The batsmen have been finding it tough to pick the black seam of the ball. The ball, seaming or turning, tends to dip and that makes the batsman’s job all the more difficult. As India Blue skipper Suresh Raina remarked, “You can’t pick the seam from the bowler’s hand and it helps to rotate the strike and get used to it.” Reverse swing too adds to the challenge.

Looking at the game, Patel noted, “We have no choice but to play aggressively and try and win. We have to force a favourable result somehow,” reported SportsStar.

Rain on Monday continued to threaten the match, which becomes important for Ishant, who has not played any competitive cricket for six months after vainly trying for an English county stint. More rain would brighten India Blue’s passage to the final.

Squads:

India Green: Parthiv Patel (Capt, wk), Prashant Chopra, Nitin Saini, Kaushik Gandhi, Manpreet Juneja, Shivam Chowdhary, Amandeep Khare, Parveez Rasool, Mayank Dagar, Dhawal Kulkarni, Varun Aaron, Aniketh Chowdhary and Anupam Sanklecha.

India Blue: Suresh Raina (Capt), Samit Gohel, Abhimanyu Easwaran, KS Bharat, Manoj Tiwari, Deepak Hooda, Ishaan Kishan( wk), Akshay Wakhare, Bharghav Bhat, Ishant Sharma, Pankaj Rao, Jaydev Unadkat, Sagun Kamat and Pankaj Singh.