Lucknow: Lanky paceman Ishant Sharma would like to make a statement or two when he would represent India Blue against India Red in the Duleep Trophy final scheduled to be begin at the Ekana International Cricket Stadium on Monday.
The 29-year-old had last played a Test match against Australia earlier this year in Ranchi and since then, he hasn’t competed in any format for India in the last six months.
But after being directed by the selectors to participate in the Duleep Trophy for the Suresh Raina-led India Blue, he could bowl just seven overs before rain stopped play.
So there’ll be a lot on his plate to prove when the newly appointed Delhi captain competes against India Red in the Duleep Trophy final beginning on Monday.
India Blue skipper Suresh Raina, on Sunday said, “It’s an important game for everyone including Ishant.”
He also added, “Certainly, we couldn’t get match practice due to rain in the last two matches. But we are a balanced side. The presence of Ishant and Pankaj Singh in the side is a big boost to our confidence.”
Raina, who has been making every effort to make a comeback to the national team accepts the fact that strength, character and patience is required in five-day cricket. He said, “For me, getting a good start ahead of the domestic season is quite important and I am happy that I am in good nick with the willow. I hope my bat continues to do the talking here too.”
He also said that he isn’t, ‘under pressure’ by his fitness reports, “I’m here and you can see how fit I am. I am working hard on all aspects of my cricket life, including fitness.”
India Red captain Dinesh Karthik had no regrets that his side has lost many important players to the India A side who are currently competing against their New Zealand counterparts. Instead, he feels, that it is a good opportunity for the youngsters to step up to the occasion and make a mark.
He said, “Many of our players have joined the India A side playing New Zealand A, but it makes no difference to us as we have good young players, who are capable of taking up the challenge.”
“It’s a good opportunity for youngsters to show their class on a bigger platform. It’s a tournament of top 40 cricketers of India and I find everyone good enough,” he added further.
India Blue: Suresh Raina (captain), 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.
India Red: Dinesh Karthik (captain), Prithvi Shaw, Akhil Herwadkar, Ishank Jaggi, Rahul Singh, Baba Indrajith, Surya Kumar Yadav,Washington Sundar, Vijay Gohel, Basil Thampi, CV Milind, Ashok Dinda, Siddharth Kaul.