Six teams are placed in each of the five Elite groups, while the Plate group comprises eight sides. The league phase will be held till January 19. One team from each of the five Elite groups and three from the Plate group will qualify for the quarter-finals, beginning from January 26, with the semi-finals and the decider on January 29 and 31, respectively.
Bangalore, Calcutta, Vadodara, Indore, Mumbai and Chennai host the league phase matches which begin from 12noon and 7pm.
All knockout stage games will be played in Ahmedabad. The semi-finals begin from 1pm and 7pm. The final starts at 7pm.
Watch out for Suryakumar Yadav
He was a surprise omission from the India T20I squad after his exploits in IPL 2020. The Mumbai captain now has an ideal platform to make a mark once again. A good run in this tournament will give the Chetan Sharma-led selection committee an option for the England series.
Arjun Tendulkar, son of maestro Sachin, is also a part of the Mumbai squad. Telegraph picture
Another wicket-keeper batsman who can make a case for national selection if he can repeat his IPL 2020 form. The Jharkhand captain outscored the likes of Rohit Sharma, Quinton de Kock and Kieron Pollard, scoring 516 runs for champions Mumbai Indians at an average of 57.33 and strike rate of 145.76.
The Kerala captain has already proved his capability with the bat. But inconsistency and throwing it away with a rank poor shot even when well set are Samson’s biggest drawbacks. Now is the time to correct that.
In his maiden IPL last year, Devdutt Padikkal not just impressed with his smart batting, but also scored more runs than stalwarts Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers, opening the batting for Royal Challengers Bangalore. If the left-hander fires, Karnataka can make a robust defence of their crown.
Sreesanth Telegraph picture
Ruturaj Gaikwad proved to Mahendra Singh Dhoni and other Chennai Super Kings members that he did have the spark to shine among big names in T20 cricket. The national T20s provide the Maharashtra batsman with another opportunity to stay in the reckoning.
Shahbaz Ahmed Being Bengal’s find last season, Shahbaz was also rewarded with an IPL contract, though he was selected in only two matches of the RCB in UAE. An aggressive left-handed batsman and an equally effective left-arm spinner, Shahbaz again finds an opportunity ahead for him to impress the selectors for berth in the India A squad.
The other Tendulkar
Arjun Tendulkar, son of maestro Sachin, is also a part of the Mumbai squad. The 21-year-old, who bowls left-arm medium, has so far played only at age-group levels and was once included in the India U-19 squad for two four-day matches versus Sri Lanka back in mid-2018. Some eyes will definitely be on him if he is selected in any of the matches.
One may well call them spent forces, but the likes of Suresh Raina (playing for Uttar Pradesh), Kedar Jadhav (representing Maharashtra), Sreesanth (back in the Kerala squad), Dinesh Karthik (captaining Tamil Nadu) and Ambati Rayudu (skipper of Andhra) certainly feel they still have cricket left in them and have an eye on the next IPL as well.