Shubman Gill will lead the India Blue team for the Duleep Trophy which will be played in Bengaluru. (Image credit: Twitter)
The 2019/20 Duleep Trophy is all set to begin in Bengaluru from August 17 to September 8 and the squads have been announced for the three participating teams. India Blue will be led by Shubman Gill, who was impressive in the 2018 Under-19 World Cup and played a big role in India's title triumph. Faiz Fazal will lead the India Green Team while Priyank Panchal will lead the India Red team. While India Blue and India Green named 15 players in the squad, India Red named just 14 players. However, the 2019/20 season will see the tournament being played in the traditional red-ball format and not the pink ball as it has been the case in the last three years.
However, the BCCI's GM (Cricket Operations) Saba Karim confirmed that save the final from September 5-9, which will be telecast live on Star Sports, all the other matches will be traditional red-ball games like the old times. "We have floodlights at the Chinnaswamy but we are not playing with a pink ball under lights as there is no live coverage. Only the final match will be a day/night affair as that's the only match to be aired live" Karim told PTI on Tuesday. Asked if this will be a roadblock in moving towards pink-ball Tests in future, Karim disagreed.
"I don't think so. If everyone associated with Indian cricket is on the same page, maybe we can think of having India A first-class games with pink balls. I am not saying anything is confirmed but you never know if everyone comes on the same page," Karim said. However, a senior BCCI official said the decision to scrap pink balls save the final has been done keeping the bigger picture in mind. "The Indian team is not playing any pink ball cricket in the near future. All our Test engagements are a part of World Test Championship. And we are not playing any Day/Night games in World Test Championship," the senior official, who is privy to Indian team management's selection policies, told PTI on condition of anonymity.
"So what's the logic of our supply line of players playing a tournament with the pink ball when they are in any case going to play red-ball cricket if selected for India," he said. On the three Duleep squads formed, most of the current India A players along with performers from Vidarbha and other Ranji teams have got a chance. The likes of Abhimanyu Easwaran, Anmolpreet Singh, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shreyas Gopal, Jayant Yadav, Axar Patel, all of whom have played at least one format for India A in the West Indies A tour, are there. India discards like Karun Nair and Varun Aaron are also in the mix just like last season's highest run-scorer Milind Kumar of Sikkim or talented left-arm seamer from Rajasthan Tanveer ul Haq.
India Blue won the 2018/19 edition of the Duleep Trophy with a victory by an innings and 187 runs against India Red. Dhruv Shorey was the leading run-getter with 293 runs while Saurabh Kumar was the highest wicket-taker with 19.