India’s domestic cricketers can finally breathe a sigh of relief as it looks like they will be back on the pitch in early Jan. The BCCI cancelled the 2020 domestic season in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and thousands of domestic cricketers have been unable to play their favorite game for over a year.

The BCCI confirmed that it will start the domestic season in 2021 with the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. This is a T20 tournament that takes place between different states every year. The BCCI wanted to start out with a T20 tournament to get all domestic players slowly warmed up before they get into the ODI and four day format.

Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2021

The Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2021 will start on Jan 10 and see a total of 36 teams compete against one another in a round robin format before moving on to the playoffs. Indian cricket fans will be happy to see the domestic season commence as there are a number offshore betting sites who will be taking bets on this tournament.

The teams have been broken down into six groups and a number of top players from the IPL will be in action including a number of fringe players that are in and out of the Indian team. These games will take place in six locations across the country and the BCCI will make use of a bio-bubble to host these games. The final is set to take place in Ahmedabad.

We take a look at three teams that have already announced their squads and their captains.

Delhi Squad

Delhi has named a 20 member squad that looks really strong as it has a number of big players in it. Delhi is part of the Group E and have been put alongside a number of top teams including Mumbai and Kerala. The selectors have named Shikhar Dhawan as the captain for the tournament.

Shikhar Dhawan will be in the spotlight in the India v Sri Lanka T20I series
India’s Shikhar Dhawan look at the screen after his dismissal during the second Twenty20 international cricket match against Bangladesh in Rajkot, India, Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)

Apart from Dhawan, Delhi will also be able to rely on the services of Ishant Sharma but not for the entire tournament. I Sharma could make the trip to Australia to play in the fourth test match depending.

Some of the other exciting players in the Delhi squad include Nitish Rana, Manjot Kalra,  Pawan Negi and Kshitiz Sharma.

Karnataka Squad

Karnataka are the defending champions but their chances of defending their title this year have taken a blow. The state has announced a 20 member squad for the tournament which will be led by Karun Nair. Karnataka will certainly miss KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal who are currently with the Indian team in Australia.

Karnataka will also be without the services of Manish Pandey who has been ruled out after suffering an elbow injury. However, there are a number of young players who did well in IPL 2020 and will look to shine in this tournament and put their hands up for selection.

Some of these players include the impressive Devdutt Padikkal, Shreyas Gopal, Krishnappa Gowthan and Prasidh Krishna.

Bengal Squad

The Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) has named Abhimanyu Easwaran as the captain and have released a 22 member squad for the tournament. Bengal is grouped with a number of tough teams including Hyderabad and Tamil Nadu. All their home games will take place in Kolkata at the Jadavpur University ground.

Some of the top players in this squad include veteran Manoj Tiwary, Ishan Porel and Shreevats Goswami. Fans will also be keeping a close eye on Mohammed Kaif who is the younger brother of Indian pacer Mohammed Shami.

Bengal will be coached by senior statesman Arul Lal and will also have access to VVS Laxman.


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