Vidarbha vs Rest of India, Irani Trophy
VCA Stadium, Nagpur
12-16 February 2019; 9:30 AM IST
Even though the venue assisted the batsmen in the first few matches of the tournament, the wicket for the Ranji Trophy final had something for everyone. Moreover, as the match progressed, the spinners started coming into play big time.
With only a few days between the final and the Irani Trophy, there won’t be enough time to relay the pitch. So we can expect another sporting wicket with the bowlers getting some turn as the match goes on.
The Irani Trophy is a match that is held annually between the Ranji Trophy champions and a team that comprises of some of the best players in the country. It is a five-day affair and it concludes India’s first-class season.
This time, the Rest of India squad will have a few India internationals; they have Shreyas Iyer as well as Test specialists Mayank Agarwal and Hanuma Vihari, and are led by Indian vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane.
Vidarbha, on the other hand, won their second consecutive Ranji Trophy title last week and boast of a strong team too. Their well-coordinated players will look to beat the newly assembled Rest of India side in the one-off match.
Form (Most recent to oldest)
Vidarbha: W W W D W (great form)
Rest of India: N/A (play one match every year and with a different team)
Expected playing XI
Wasim Jaffer, Faiz Fazal (c), Umesh Yadav, Ganesh Satish, Akshay Wakhare, Sanjay Raghunath, Aditya Sarwate, Akshay Karnewar, Rajneesh Gurbani, Akshay Wadkar (wk), Mohit Kale
Rest of India:
Mayank Agarwal, Anmolpreet Singh, Shreyas Iyer, Hanuma Vihari, Ajinkya Rahane (c), Rinku Singh, Ishan Kishan (WK), K Gowtham, Dharmendrasinh Jadeja, Ankit Rajpoot, Tanveer Ul-Haq
My Dream XI
There are a lot of good wicketkeeping options from this match, with the likes of Akshay Wadkar, Ishan Kishan and Snell Patel all being in contention for the spot. With RoI having to make a choice between Kishan and Patel, it will be safer to go with Wadkar. He has had a great Ranji season with Vidarbha, scoring over 700 at an average of 60.
Mayank Agarwal has been in great form over the last two years and was rewarded for his consistent domestic performances with a place in the Test side. He even continued his good form in the Test series in Australia, and is likely to open the batting for RoI.
Agarwal’s partner is likely to be Anmolpreet Singh, who had a great time for Punjab in the domestic season and is expected to handle the Vidarbha bowlers comfortably.
Shreyas Iyer is one of the finest players in the domestic circuit and can turn a match around in a couple of sessions. He has been in good form for India A and Mumbai recently, and would be a valuable addition to the side.
Joining these players in the batting department will be Vidarbha veteran Wasim Jaffer, who is the most successful player in the Indian domestic circuit. He recently won his 10th Ranji Trophy title and has scored over 1,000 runs this season.
Saurashtra’s Dharmendrasinh Jadeja and Vidarbha’s Aditya Sarwate are the second and third highest wicket-takers this Ranji Trophy season as they finished with 59 and 55 wickets respectively.
These two were very crucial for their respective teams all the way up to the final. Sarwate also contributed with the bat as he scored 354 runs in the tournament; his all-around efforts earned him the Player of the Match award in the final.
The third all-rounder in the side is Hanuma Vihari, who has an outstanding record in the first class format and did reasonably well for India in the series against Australia.
In Umesh Yadav, Vidarbha have an experienced campaigner who has been bowling extremely well in the longer format. The Indian pacer joined Vidarbha just in time for the knockouts and picked up 23 wickets in just three matches, playing a key role in their triumph.
Akshay Whakare picked up 34 wickets and was the second highest wicket-taker for his team in the tournament. He complemented Sarwate well and the duo ensured that their team came out all guns blazing in the all-important final.
Joining the Vidarbha duo of Umesh and Whakare will be Uttar Pradesh pacer Ankit Rajpoot, who has done well for UP and India A in the recent past.
Captain and vice-captain: Shreyas Iyer and Aditya Sarwate
Player to watch out for: Aditya Sarwate
With 354 runs at an average of nearly 30 with the bat and 55 wickets at an average of 19.6 with the ball, Sarwate is capable of giving points in both departments. The all-rounder will likely play a key role for Vidarbha as they look to defend their title from last year.