Rajneesh Gurbani. (TOI Photo)NAGPUR: Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA) selectors will be going into a huddle to pick a T20 squad for the forthcoming Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy (SMAT). After conducting off-season camp for four-five months, the players will be playing against visiting Chhattisgarh from Tuesday.
"A team from Chhattisgarh has arrived to play multiple T20 matches in the city. The first match will be played at Kalamna ground on Tuesday," said a source in VCA.
All the players in the camp will be shuffled and given chances against Chhattisgarh. This year, VCA did not conduct any tournament like a mega T20 event, sponsored by a private player, like it did last year. Middle-order bat Shubham Dubey was a find of the mega T20 tournament and he went on to play in SMAT. Also, there was no tournament like Guzder T20 in the lead up to the domestic T20 meet this time.
"We already have a large pool of players involving under-23 and senior players. Plus, the weather was not favourable this season. As SMAT is just 15 days far, these matches are the best opportunity for the players to showcase their talent," said the source.
Senior fast bowler Rajneesh Gurbani will have a good chance to get back into the T20 squad. Gurbani had an impressive stint as net bowler with Rajasthan Royal during IPL 2022.
Another young talent Digvijay Deshmukh, who has played for one First-Class match for Maharashtra and was also in Mumbai Indians squad, has shifted to Vidarbha. He is a medium-pace allrounder and all eyes will be on him. Another talent from Hinganghat – Akshay Kombe – known for his power-hitting will be looked at closely by the selectors.
Last season, Vidarbha played their first-ever semis in the shortest format against Karnataka under Akshay Wadkar. The wicketkeeper is likely to lead the side this season as well.
A couple of weeks ago, Vidarbha had come back from Chhattisgarh after playing a T20 tournament involving 4-5 teams from other states. They had won two matches out of five in the event.