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Irani Cup: Vidarbha eye encore, Rahane gears up for big one, Umesh misses

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Nagpur: Rest of India captain Ajinkya Rahane will be hoping to keep himself in the mix for World Cup selection as he leads a formidable Rest of India against Ranji Trophy champions Vidarbha in the Irani Cup starting Tuesday.    

For Vidarbha, the aim will be to do an encore of the 2017-18 season where they won both Ranji Trophy and Irani Cup.

However it will be easier said than done against a Rest of India batting line-up that boasts of current Test vice-captain Rahane, opener Mayank Agarwal, the dashing Shreyas  Iyer and the dogged Hanuma Vihari in its ranks.

Rahane, who played three List A matches against England Lions with two half-centuries to his credit, is fighting for the reserve opener's slot.

For Agarwal, Iyer and Vihari, it will be good game time as they would have little motivation considering they are not in the scheme of things as far as World Cup is concerned.

While Irani Cup is a five-day game but a good knock will only help Rahane grab eyeballs as selectors zero in on the couple of slots available.   For Vidarbha, this Ranji season has been more of team work than individual brilliance. And their coach Chandrakant Pandit would be keen that his boys carry on this trend in the Irani Cup even though senior pacer Umesh Yadav will be missing. due to a niggle.

Umesh has been advised rest and is expected to be replaced by Yash Thakur.

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