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In cricket, Jharkhand has a large talent pool: Subroto Banerjee

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Eager to shine in the big league Boys are ready for Delhi challenge: Shahbaz Nadeem

Jamshedpur, Oct 26: With threat of a wash out in the opening Ranji trophy match against heavy weights Delhi, the hosts Jharkhand this time in the big league are eagerly waiting to shine and make a mark in the first match of the season starting on Sunday at Keenan Stadium in Jamshedpur.

Jharkhand finished second in Group C last year. Three outright wins and as many draws took them to the quarter-finals against Punjab. They were promoted to Group A for this season.

The beginning of Jharkhand’s season will be watched for the comeback of two players who have had fleeting international careers so far – Varun Aaron and Saurabh Tiwary.

While Tiwary had a shoulder operation in August, Aaron has been plagued with injuries since he last played for India in 2011.

Jharkhand also have a new coach in Subroto Banerjee and two new recruits – Bhavin Thakkar and Bhavik Thaker. Talking to the media persons today at the stadium coach Subroto Banerjee said that our preparation for the season and the opening match against Delhi is outright, though rain interrupted outdoor practice we have been camping for the last 3-4 months and boys and raring to go.

Asked about Jharkhand being included in elite group this year, Banerjee said that this year it is totally different as we will be playing against some of the big names in international cricket and some of the big teams of our country.

Banerjee added that we are positive in our approach and the boys are trying their best to make a mark as they are the future of our country. Asked about the comeback of two big players Banerjee said that Varun Aaron and Saurabh Tiwary are fully fit and are raring to go.

They are the key players of our side as Saurabh Tiwary amassed 602 runs in the previous season at an average of 46.30, including two hundreds and three fifties.

However, his comeback is likely to be tough. He hasn’t played a professional match in more than five months and will be facing more potent attacks this season.

On the other hand Varun Aaron, hasn’t played since IPL 2012 due to the recurrence of a back injury. The bowler recently said he had made a “slight adjustment” to his bowling action and hoped that the tweak would help him last the season.

Jharkhand will be hoping it works out that way, as a fully fit Aaron will make the side’s attack formidable. Subroto Banrejee who was also associated with Saurasthra Cricket Association said that there is much more talent in Jharkhand and with platform being provided they are the future of our country, the main difference is that they are bounded together and perform consistently, added Banerjee.

Also present in a pre match conference here hosts Captain Shahbaz Nadeem said that the team combination will be decided on the match day after looking at the pitch.

We are a good side and boys are raring to go, camping for the last 3-4 months have helped us a lot, added Nadeem. Asked about playing against the likes of Virendar Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Ashish Nehra, Nadeem said that they have performed a lot for the country they are big names in international cricket and playing against them will give us confidence and will be a competitive match.

Our bowling, is an area of strength, as offspinner Sunny Gupta took four wickets against North Zone in the recent Duleep Trophy semi-final and Nadeem himself is the most promising domestic bowler.

Nadeem added that Shankar Rao and Ajay Yadav will handle the pace attack. While Rao averaged 24.65 last season with 26 wickets, Yadav played only five matches and impressed with 23 wickets, mainly through his haul of 11 wickets against Services and 10 against Tripura.

It may be noted Jharkhand began their Ranji campaign last year with an outright win – an innings and 31 runs against Jammu & Kashmir – but will face a stiffer challenge in their first game against Delhi this year.

Jharkhand finished second in Group C last year. While they shone in the lightweight Group C last season, the more accomplished opponents this season will test how far Jharkhand have progressed.

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