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Ranji four on state pitch, capital on list of venues

Jharkhand, the new Mecca of international cricket, has bagged a bunch of domestic albeit elite ties.

According to the Ranji Trophy fixture details that the JSCA received from BCCI and released late on Monday evening, the state will host four Group A matches in the 2013-14 season.

In all, Team Jharkhand will play eight matches — the four home ones and as many away. It will clash with Team Delhi in the opening match, which is scheduled from October 27 to 30.

The hosts will also take on Gujarat from November 28 to December 1, Vidarbha from December 22 to 25 and Punjab from December 30 to January 2.

Venues will be decided by the state cricket body in due course of time.

JSCA secretary Rajesh Verma said the four ties were likely to be played at Ranchi’s international stadium in Dhurwa that has already bagged an India-Australia ODI, Dhanbad’s Railway Stadium and Jamshedpur’s Keenan.

Tata Steel, which owns Keenan, has mooted a proposal to make the stadium soccer-exclusive, but Verma insisted that the company wouldn’t refuse Ranji glory.

Jharkhand’s willow warriors will play their away matches against Karnataka (November 7-10), Haryana (November 14-17), Odisha (November 21-24) and Mumbai (December 6-9).

The state team is in Group A that includes nine outfits. It qualified to the elite group with a fine show in the last season, when it had reached the quarterfinals but lost to Punjab.

With the fixture finalised, cricket fans can look forward to watching some top players, including Delhi’s Virender Sehwag, Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir, Vidarbha’s Umesh Yadav, Punjab’s Harbhajan Singh and Gujarat’s Parthiv Patel.

“It is good that Jharkhand is hosting strong teams this season. The matches will be a treat for spectators with top players in action,” said Verma.

Do you think Ranchi should host at least two Ranji ties?

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