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East take on powerful West

Chennai: East Zone start off their Deodhar Trophy campagn against West Friday. In another fixture on the opening day at Hyderabad, reigning champions South Zone will take on Central.

With the World Cup squad decided, it will be an added motivation for some of the players to prove the selectors wrong. Hrishikesh Kanitkar, Sairaj Bahutule, Connor Williams from the West while Shiv Sundar Das and Debashish Mohanty of East will be eager to put up an impressive performance.

East Zone skipper Rohan Gavaskar will also be keen to show his mettle. He will have his task cut out as East will try to improve on their last seasonís standings, where they finished last.

Eastís cause will not be helped either by the absence of wicketkeeper Deep Dasgupta, all-rounder Laxmi Ratan Shukla and off-spinner Sourashish Lahiri, who have not been released by employer Metro Railways to play in the tournament. Laxmiís unavailability had opened the door for Bengal medium-pacer Ranadeb Bose.

West hold a clear edge in the batting department, with skipper Kanitkar already amassing more than 700 runs in the Ranji Trophy.

Teams (from)

West Zone: Hrishikesh Kanitkar (capt), Sairaj Bahutule, Niranjan Godbole, Connor Williams, Vinayak Mane, Abhijit Kale, Kirat Damani, Sidarth Trivedi, Irfan Pathan (jr), J. Joshi, Robin Morris, Romesh Powar, Altaf Merchant, Milap Mewada, Rakesh Dhruv.

East Zone: Rohan Gavaskar (capt), Shiv Sundar Das, Devang Gandhi, Subhomoy Das, Prabhanjan Mallik, Utpal Chatterjee, Debashish Mohanty, M. S. Dhoni, Javed Zaman, B.B.C.C Mohapatra, S. Chowdhury, Sanjay Raul, Ranadeb Bose, Rashmi Ranjan Parida.

Umpires: I. Shivaram and V. K. Ramasamy. Match Referee: Manu Nayyar. (PTI)

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