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Captain Shukla stays optimistic

Calcutta: Sunday’s Deodhar Trophy quarter-final match between East Zone and Central Zone, in Visakhapatnam, will not only be a contest between two teams, it will also be a stage for quite a few individual battles.

That is because both the teams consist of players who have met quite a few times this season with varying results.

For example, East captain Laxmi Ratan Shukla will want to prove a point or two to the likes of Anureet Singh and Mahesh Rawat, who were part of the Railways team which defeated Shukla-led Bengal in the Vijay Hazare Trophy semi-finals. Central is captained by Piyush Chawla, who, while leading the Uttar Pradesh side, had suffered defeat at the hands of Shukla’s Bengal in the Ranji Trophy.

Such mini rivalries may make Sunday’s match an interesting contest. Both the teams are quite evenly matched. While Shukla, Manoj Tiwary, Saurabh Tiwary and Ashok Dinda are the key members of the East team, Central have Chawla, Rawat, Anureet and Ishwar Pandey.

Shukla sounded confident on the eve of the match. “I am proud to lead this teamů We are ready for the challenge. There are no injury worries and the team is in great shape,” Shukla said.