DINDIGUL: Abhinav Mukund-led India Red takes on India Blue, led by Faiz Fazal, in the final of the Duleep Trophy, the first tournament of the 2018-19 domestic season, at the NPR College ground here, beginning tomorrow.
A number of players have performed for India Red, the defending champion, with J&K off-spinner Parvez Rasool, Jharkhand tweaker Shahbaz Nadeem and Vidarbha pacer Rajneesh Gurbani have been in top form in the tournament played under floodlights with the pink ball.
Among the batsmen, Sanjay Ramaswamy of Vidarbha, Siddhesh Lad (Mumbai) and Tamil Nadu's Baba Aparajith have stolen the show and would be aiming to impress the selectors with good performances in the summit clash.
Skipper Abhinav Mukund hasn't had a great run so far and would be looking to put his hand up with the Indian openers (Murali Vijay, KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan) not having the best of times in the ongoing series in England.
The stylish southpaw, who last featured in a Test in Sri Lanka last year, will be keen to run up a big score and put himself back in contention.
The tracks used for the matches so far have produced runs from a number of batsmen and also given the bowlers an opportunity to showcase their skills.
Rasool and Nadeem did well in one of the games while Gurbani, an integral part of Vidarbha's maiden Ranji Trophy triumph last season, has yet again impressed with incisive spells.
Among the India Blue players, Delhi's Dhruv Shorey has been in good touch and will be aiming to continue scoring runs.
The team comprises a number of talented players who will be eager to underline their potential at the start of what is a long season ahead.
Experienced Jaydev Unadkat has bowled well in the two league games and would lead an attack that also includes the promising Basil Thampi and Bandaru Ayyappa among others.
India Blue's UP left-arm spinner Saurabh Kumar has shot to prominence with a five-wicket haul against India Green and could prove a handful if the pitch provides some assistance as it has done in the earlier games.
The match provides a chance to players from both teams to come up with strong performances in an effort to stake claim for berths in the national side with a lot of international cricket coming up.
India Red: Abhinav Mukund (captain), Prithvi Raj Yarra, Shahbaz Nadeem, B Aparajith, Abhimanyu Mithun, Parvez Rasool, S R Ramaswamy, Ashutosh Singh, Mihir Hirwani, Writtick Chatterjee, A V Wadkar, Rajneesh Gurbani, B Sandeep, Ishan Porel, Siddhesh Lad.
India Blue: Faiz Fazal (captain), Ricky Bhui, Dhawal Kulkarni, A A Wakhare, Ganesh Satish, Swapnil K Singh, Basil Thampi, Ayyappa Bandaru, K S Bharat, S K Patel, N R Gangta, Abhishek Kumar Raman, Dhruv Shorey, Jaydev Unadkat, Saurabh Kumar, Anmolpreet Singh.
(Match starts at 1.30 p.m)