Duleep Trophy: West Zone to emerge as strong contender against Central Zone, focus on Washington Sundar’s fitness in South-North match

Duleep Trophy: The second semi-final of the Duleep Trophy will be crucial for some of the future players vying for a place in the Indian team, including Washington Sundar.

Duleep Trophy 2023, West Zone Vs Central Zone And South Zone Vs North Zone: The likes of Cheteshwar Pujara and Prithvi Shaw will be the focus of all eyes when West Zone take on Central Zone in the first semi-final of the Duleep Trophy at Alur from Wednesday, July 5. Both Cheteshwar Pujara and Prithvi Shaw will again try to impress the selectors.

West Zone has included Cheteshwar Pujara, Prithvi Shaw, Suryakumar Yadav and Sarfaraz Khan in the squad for this match. This tournament can be very important for the career of these four. Washington Sundar’s fitness will be in focus when South Zone take on North Zone in the second semi-final in Bengaluru. He is making a comeback after 6 months.

Washington Sundar has played only 55 matches in 6 years due to being unfit

North beat North East Zone by 511 runs in the quarter-finals. The match will be crucial for some of the current players and some future players vying for a place in the Indian team, including Washington Sundar. The 23-year-old all-rounder from Tamil Nadu has battled multiple injuries and fitness issues in the last 6 years. Because of this, he has been able to play only 55 matches.

He fell victim to a hamstring injury in the first leg of IPL 2023. After this he returned to the Tamil Nadu Premier League. It remains to be seen whether he will be able to bowl 25 overs in an innings or bat through the day to stake his claim for a comeback into the national team. India is still looking for a quality off-spinner in white ball cricket.


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Washington seemed to fill that gap. Three national selectors are currently in Bengaluru for the two semi-finals. His eyes will definitely be on Washington’s performance. Apart from him, Sai Sudarshan, who emerged from IPL, is also in the race. The North Zone team boasts of experienced players like Dhruv Shorey and Jayant Yadav while Punjab’s Prabhsimran Singh and Delhi’s Harshit Rana will also look to do well.

Cheteshwar Pujara will try to prove himself again

Cheteshwar Pujara, who has scored more than 7000 runs in 103 Tests for India, has played many brilliant innings in his career, but he has been dropped from the Indian team for the West Indies tour. He did not get a place in the Indian Test team after failing in the World Test Championship final against Australia last month. He will look to prove himself again during the Duleep Trophy.

Prithvi Shaw would like to impress the selectors

Prithvi Shaw and Sarfaraz Khan would also like to impress the selectors. However, the reasons for both of these being out of the Indian team are also from outside cricket. There is no doubt that there is no dearth of talent in the earth. After all, the number of people who have scored centuries on debut in Ranji Trophy, Duleep Trophy and Test cricket is not very large.

Prithvi’s indiscipline outside the field is under question

India also won the ICC Under-19 World Cup title in 2018 under the leadership of Prithvi Shaw. However, since then the 23-year-old batsman has played only 5 Tests, 6 ODIs and one T20 International. Despite his 379 off 383 balls against Assam in the Ranji Trophy in January this year, Prithvi has fallen behind in the race for a place in the Indian team. His indiscipline off the field has also come under the scanner.

Sarfaraz Khan’s story is similar to Prithvi Shaw’s

Prithvi has recently signed with Northamptonshire. He will look to impress the selectors with good performances in this England county team and in the Duleep Trophy. The story of Sarfaraz is also similar to that of Prithvi Shaw. He has also scored a lot of runs in domestic cricket. He is among the few batsmen to have scored more than 900 runs in two consecutive Ranji Trophy seasons (2020-21, 2021-22).


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A big innings in Bengaluru can ease Sarfaraz’s path

Sarfaraz averages a little over 79 in the first class. Only Sir Don Bradman has a better average than this. Even in the last domestic season, he averaged 92.66 and his non-selection in the Indian team for the West Indies tour raised a lot of questions. Off-the-field demeanor and poor fitness levels have blocked his way into the Indian team for the time being. Another big innings in Bengaluru might make things easier for him.

Suryakumar Yadav would like to play big innings in Duleep Trophy

Suryakumar, on the other hand, has been an integral part of the white-ball Indian team but the Mumbai batsman has failed to replicate the success in the longer format. Suryakumar failed while making his debut against Australia in Nagpur in February. He would like to prove that he is an all-format player by playing big innings in the Duleep Trophy. If all these players play unitedly for the team with their personal goals, then exciting cricket can be seen for the next four days.


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