The one-day competition of India’s domestic season has kick-started. The Vijay Hazare Trophy will see as many as 15 Royals from several teams. The tournament has had a few changes in the format and a couple of teams have been added as well. Many of the Rajasthan Royals boys are in piping hot form, having either played for India A or the Duleep Trophy a couple of weeks ago. A couple of the Royals will be leading their teams for the first time in this format too.
Rajasthan: Mahipal Lomror (c)
Mahi, who is all of 19 years old has been handed over the captaincy of the Rajasthan team. He had led them last year during the Ranji Trophy, and he handled the responsibility quite well. The runs kept flowing and he had some good scores to show. The young Royal scored a fighting century during the Duleep Trophy as well. He will look to carry his form early into the Vijay Hazare Trophy.
Mumbai: Dhawal Kulkarni & Shubham Ranjane
Dhawal Kulkarni is a veteran in the Mumbai setup. He has proven himself to be a key bowler time and again over the years. Be it with the new or the old ball, DK’s skills will come in handy for Mumbai.
The other Royal in the Mumbai squad is the swashbuckling all-rounder, Shubham Ranjane. These two will be key members for defending champions, Mumbai.
Nagaland: Stuart Binny
Stuart Binny made his move from the south to the north-east. After having played for Karnataka throughout his career, the Royal will now be playing for Nagaland. The all-rounder’s presence will add more mettle to the relatively new side.
Maharashtra: Rahul Tripathi
The ever-dependable Rahul Tripathi is the vice-captain of the Maharashtra side for the Vijay Hazare Trophy. The Pune batsmen will look to make a mark in the 50-over competition with his crafty and explosive batting.
Kerala: Sanju Samson & Sudhesan Midhun
Sanju Samson has been the mainstay for Kerala, who have a change in guard with Robin Uthappa leading them this season. Samson has the firepower and the finesse to pace an innings perfectly in the 50-over format and will want to remind the Indian selectors of his scintillating batting, following a great showing for India A in the recently concluded series against South Africa A.
Sudhesan Midhun has been a promising leg-spinner for Kerala. His performances last year won him his maiden IPL contract with Rajasthan Royals. He made his IPL debut last season. While Samson could be knocking on the India selectors’ doors, Midhun will want to keep impressing everyone.
Karnataka: Shreyas Gopal & Krishnappa Gowtham
Traditionally, leg spinners and off spinners have been known to hunt in pairs. Karnataka will look for the same from the experienced Royal duo of Shreyas Gopal and Krishnappa Gowtham. Gowtham has had a great run for India A, while Gopal has been at his peak this year. Opposition batsmen could find it very difficult to tackle them.
Himachal Pradesh: Prashant Chopra
A regular with Himachal Pradesh for years, the skipper, Prashant Chopra is the backbone of the Himachal Pradesh batting line-up. He has been in good touch for India A. That helicopter shot he plays is grabbing eyeballs. Probably, Hardik Pandya & MS Dhoni are the only other batsmen in India to have the shot in his repertoire.
Jharkhand: Varun Aaron
We all know what Varun Aaron is capable of. With tearaway pace and swing, Aaron will be leading the pace attack for Jharkhand, who have built a formidable side over the years. Jharkhand’s opponents can expect some fiery pace in excess of 145 kph from the India international.
Saurashtra: Jaydev Unadkat
Meet Saurashtra’s new captain, Jaydev Unadkat. The man has been a consistent performer for his domestic team for years now. His ability to swing the ball and use his variations will make him a lethal weapon both at the start and end of the innings. He was made captain mid-way through the last Ranji season, as he stepped in for the retiring Jaydev Shah. Unadkat now finds himself captaining the side in the Vijay Hazare Trophy too.
Chandigarh: Manan Vohra
We have a newly introduced team this time around in the tournament – Chandigarh. Our Punjabi Royal, Manan Vohra has made the move from Punjab to Chandigarh and will be leading the team. The elegant batsman will look to lead the batting line-up by example.
Chhattisgarh: Shashank Singh
Another Royal all-rounder who had made his move from his home team to another is Shashank Singh. He had moved to Chhattisgarh earlier this year from Puducherry, and before that, Mumbai.
Assam: Riyan Parag
The young sensation of IPL 2019 hasn’t been playing much cricket of late. But that only means, he will come into this tournament with a fresh mindset and hunger for runs. Riyan Parag is a bundle of energy and he can help Assam win matches with both bat and ball. A lot of eyes will be on this talented all-rounder.
The Vijay Hazare Trophy has teams playing in four groups. They will play against each team within a particular group, and the top two will make it to the quarterfinals. The format was first followed last year and proved to be extremely successful. The Rajasthan Royals representation is pretty vast and the Royals will be keen on putting their best foot forward with the IPL retention and auction at the back of their minds.