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Friday, September 9, 2022

Duleep Trophy 2022 underway !!

Watching Asia Cup today ?  - of the  13 matches – India Vs Afghan match yesterday was inconsequential and today there is another such match Srilanka vs Pakistan .. .. what sort of format is this ??  .. .. can you identify this Cricketer? ??


The gateway to Nagaland, Dimapur is an irresistible part of Northeast, a tourist attraction. Dimapur in Naga means the ‘the city near a great river.’ With Dhansiri River on one side, and wooden meadows flanking the other, Dimapur was the former capital of the Kachari tribe, traces of which can be seen even today. There are  many temples, and monuments here. 

Today at Chennai, Duleep match is on and West Zone is making merry.  Prithvi Shaw made 113; Yashasvi Jaiswal made 228; Ajinkya Rahane is unbeaten on 207 with Rahul Tripathi on 25 – total being  a massive 590/2  .. if you are not following North East Zone won the toss and their Hokaito Zhimomi put WZ in .. .. 

Some may raise their eyebrows about the Team – North East Zone and its captain - Hokaito Zhimomi  !! – the man at the start.    Zhimomi comes from Sangtamtila village of Dimapur district. He played his junior and club cricket in Kolkata, representing Dalhousie Athletic Club. He was also a part of the extended Kolkata Knight Riders in 2009, later  moved to Assam.  Hokaito Zhimomi, the North East Zone captain was excited at the prospect of his team featuring in the Duleep Trophy for the first time, welcoming the opportunity to test themselves against India internationals like Ajinkya Rahane, Prithvi Shaw and Chetan Sakariya.  "The discussion is we've come in with a very positive mindset for this tournament," Hokaito said on match eve. "We have nothing to lose, and lots to gain. Playing against one of the best teams [West Zone], we will learn a lot and hopefully we will put up a good show." 

The Duleep Trophy 2022 started from September 8 in Chennai and Pondicherry.  Nawanagar was an Indian princely state in the  region of Kathiawar, located on the southern shores of the Gulf of Kutch. It was ruled by the Jadeja dynasty until 1948 when it became a part of newly formed India. The district is now known as Jamnagar.  Its rules were the mighty  Hindu Rajputs.  From here came the famous cricketer and ruler - Jam Saheb Ranjitsinhji after whom the premier Cricket tournament is named.  There is another domestic tournament – the Duleep Trophy, earlier a prestigious one played  between teams representing geographical zones of India [ 5 : South; North; West; East and Central].  Named after Kumar Shri Duleepsinhji of Nawanagar (also known as "Duleep") – for long was the platform for National selection.   The competition was started by the Board of Control for Cricket in India in the 1961–62 season. The inaugural tournament was won by West Zone who defeated South Zone in the final by 10 wickets. 

The domestic itinerary – Duleep trophy will be followed by the Irani Cup between the current Ranji Trophy champion Madhya Pradesh and a Rest of India squad picked by the national selectors on October 1. The Irani Cup was last played in 2018-19 when Vidarbha beat Rest of India on first-innings lead. 

The Duleep Trophy has been reintroduced after a three-season gap. The tournament was last held in the 2019-20 season in Bengaluru. The premier first-class tournament of India alongside the Ranji Trophy was last played in the 2019-20 season due to the Covid pandemic. A total of five matches will be played in the tournament, with the first match being played between West Zone and North East Zone from 8 September 2022 in Chennai. The tournament will be played entirely in the South Zone this time around. There are some star players playing in the tournament this time around. 

Duleep Trophy started in the 1961-62 season, and till 2014-15, the tournament was played between five Zonal Indian teams i.e. North Zone, South Zone, East Zone, West Zone and Central Zone. The original format was the five teams playing each other on a knock-out basis. However, from the 1993-94 season, the tournament changed to a league format. From 2003-04 to 2008, a sixth team also played alongside the five zonal teams, which was the guest touring team. From 2008, the tournament again shifted to its original format of knockout games. Duleep Trophy did not happen in the 2015-16 season and BCCI came up with a brand new format in 2016-17.  In 2016-17, BCCI brought in three teams India Red, India Blue and India Green. The squads of all these teams were picked by the board only. The tournament was played in Round Robin format, where the top 2 teams met each other in the final. This format continued till 2019-20 (the last time Duleep Trophy was played). 

This year, 2022, the tournament is returning to its old format of Zonal Teams playing against each other in a knockout format. However, there are six zones this time around instead of the regular five zones. The additional team this season is the North East Zone.

Decades ago,  the finals of 1975 Duleep trophy was played between South Zone and North Zone at Chepauk, Madras.  SZ were ably led by Srinivasan Venkatraghavan.  Batting first South made 390; Brijesh Patel scored a century; V Krishnaswamy made 50; Michael Dalvi, Roger Binny, Gundappa Vishwanath all made 40s.  Mohinder Amarnath, Madanlal, Bishan Bedi, Shukla, Vinay Lamba were the bowlers ~ most successful was Rajinder Singh Goel who took 7/98.  For North Chetan Chauhan and Venkat Sundaram opened; Surinder Amarnath made an unbeaten 122;  as they were all 0ut for 291. Chandra took 5/70.   In the 2nd, other than Viswanath none scored, as SZ were bundled out for 134.   Bedi and Goel took 5 each, while Goel’ s figures were 25.1-11-36-5. North were bowled out for 196 as South won by 37 runs.  Venkat broke the middle with 5/62.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
9th Sept. 2022


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