Some established names such as Shikhar Dhawan and Shreyas Iyer will be aiming to make an impression before the white-ball series against England when the Vijay Hazare 50-over competition gets underway in bio-secure bubbles across six venues on Saturday.
Tamil Nadu’s hopes will hinge on captain Dinesh Karthik
Shreyas Iyer, who missed the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy as he was recovering from shoulder injury, along with others like Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and Dhawan will be keenly watched during the tournament.
While Tamil Nadu, winner of the recent Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, has a strong team and others like Karnataka, Mumbai and Delhi will also fancy their chances.
Tamil Nadu, led by Dinesh Karthik, will be aiming to make it two out of two this season. It has the team to aim for a double.
The squad, however, will be missing the services of yorker specialist T Natarajan after he was released following a request from BCCI, which wanted him to be fresh for the white ball series against England.
It won’t be easy for Tamil Nadu, as it will face stiff competition from teams like Punjab and Karnataka, always a force to reckon with in national competitions.
In the previous edition, TN lost to Karnataka in the final at the Chinnaswamy Stadium and will be looking to go one step further this time around.
The tournament will give the players a chance to impress the national selectors, before the ODI and T20 series against England, which will begin in March. India is slated to play five T20s in Ahmedabad and three ODIs against England in Pune.
This is the second domestic tournament to be conducted by the BCCI in this curtailed season after the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, the national T20 championship.
The focus will be firmly on Shreyas, who is back to lead Mumbai, the domestic giants, which also has a new coach in former India off-spinner Ramesh Powar.
He will be eager to make an impact and so will the prolific Suryakumar Yadav, who is close to making the Indian team.
ELITE GROUP A: Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Hyderabad, Tripura, Baroda, Goa (Surat)
GROUP B: Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Vidarbha, Andhra (Indore)
GROUP C: Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Odisha, Railways, Bihar (Bengaluru)
GROUP D: Delhi, Mumbai, Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Pondicherry (Jaipur)
GROUP E: Bengal, Services, Jammu and Kashmir, Saurashtra, Haryana, Chandigarh (Kolkata)