Lahli: Cheteshwar Pujara would like to continue his good form during a short English county stint as he leads a formidable West Zone side against a gutsy East Zone in the quarter-final of the Duleep Trophy, which incidentally, will be India's domestic season-opener.
Pujara, who scored a century and a 90 in his last two of his three games for Derbyshire, will be keen to get some solid match-practice ahead of three-Test series against the West Indies.
With Parthiv Patel, Vijay Zol, Suryakumar Yadav and the mercurial Yusuf Pathan for company, the West batting bears a formidable look as the East Zone bowling will be solely dependant on Ashoke Dinda, with some support expected from Laxmi Ratan Shukla, Odisha's Basant Mohanty and slow left-arm bowler Shahbaz Nadeem of Jharkhand.
East's batting is comparatively stronger led by India A skipper Manoj Tiwary, Jharkhand's Saurab Tiwary and the seasoned Shukla to follow. Lanky 22-year-old Bengal left-hander Sudeep Chatterjee, who impressed one and all with his temperament last season might get his debut game in zonal cricket.
While the track at Bansi Lal Stadium is known to aid seamers, the mid-October scheduling of a first-class match means that one might not expect the kind of freshness that's there on offer during the cooler months of December and January.
It's still hot in the northern part of India and Rohtak is no different. So one can expect a challenge for the East bowlers, who will have their task cut against Pujara and Parthiv Patel, who have the knack of scoring big hundreds and double hundreds.
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