It’s been a while since the Holkar Cricket Stadium played host to a big cricket event with a lot of popular international names. And the fans welcomed it by gathering in large numbers to watch the nets sessions on Wednesday (September 25).
The Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association (MPCA) will host the NKP Salve Challenger Trophy and Indore is in for a five-day treat, weather permitting of course.
The tournament, which is a battle between Indian Blue (formerly India A), India Red (formerly India B) and National one-day champions, Delhi kicks off today with the final on September 29.
This limited overs tournament will feature some current regulars in the Indian team including Virat Kohli, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav, but the selectors and fans will be keen to watch the performances of two veterans - Virender Sehwag for Delhi and Yuvraj Singh, who will lead India Blue.
While both batsmen are of a similar genre - explosive - they would be fighting for places in different formats of the game at the International level.
Yuvraj’s comeback is more likely to be in the limited overs format while Sehwag would be weighing his chances in the Test format, where he is accepted as a much more accomplished batsman over the years.
Yuvraj has had a fruitful start to the season post his return from a fitness training fortnight in the high altitudes of the town of Brive La Gaillarde in France. He has been impressive in the three unofficial ODIs and the one-off T20 match against the West Indies A team including a quintessential Yuvraj century in the first match of the series. He averaged 75 in the ODI series and scored 52 off 35 balls to fire his team to a 93- run victory in the T20 match. The challenge ahead would be consistency.
Sehwag has used a different line of thinking in the off-season, choosing to initially take time away from cricket after the IPL and post that, using the MRF Pace Foundation and the brains of his one-time rival Glenn McGrath to get back some of his touch. The unofficial Test Series against West Indies ‘A’ will be an ideal platform, but the Challenger Trophy has acquired the reputation of being one of the most keenly watched domestic tournaments for quality of play and selection. There is enough indication that he would bat in the middle order after reports surfaced of him having informed the BCCI of his desire to play in the middle of the Indian team if selected.
There is no other path but the long winding road for Sehwag and the number of deliveries he left untouched in the nets on Wednesday might have provided a pointer to his frame of mind for the challenges ahead.
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