Mumbai:A galaxy of country's top players, including India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, are expected to take part in the inaugural Corporate Trophy limited overs tournament to be held from September 1 to 8.
Six centres - Chennai, Bangalore, Mohali, Cuttack, Dharamsala and Delhi - have been shortlisted as venues and the draw and fixtures are expected to be announced by the BCCI on July 27.
The Board has already finalised 12 teams, including two from Air India (AI), and four more corporates could be added to this impressive line-up in the tournament which would act as a tune-up for the upcoming short tour of Sri Lanka.
The Lanka-bound cricketers are expected to undergo a short conditioning camp, either in Bangalore or Chennai, lasting four or five days at the end of August before they represent their respective companies in the Corporate Trophy, according to BCCI sources.
Among the AI players who are expected to play are Dhoni, flamboyant batsman Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Harbhajan Singh as well as the out-of-favour Irfan Pathan.
"We have a host of top players on our muster as well as a lot of promising youngsters. That's the reason we requested the BCCI to allow us to field two teams and we are grateful it has been accepted," Dilip Pinge, Secretary of the AI Sports Board, said.
The national carrier, which may field the teams as AI Red and AI Blue, is also expecting to have the services of India left arm pacer Rudra Pratap Singh, Mohd Kaif and Robin Uthappa, besides Dhawal Kulkarni, Sidharth Trivedi, Naman Ojha and former ICL player Dhiraj Jadhav.
But the team would be missing V V S Laxman "as he's playing county cricket in England", Pinge explained.
Former India skipper Rahul Dravid, who has been named in the preliminary thirty- member Champions Trophy one-day squad, would be representing India Cements, owners of the Chennai Super Kings IPL franchise outfit, along with current Tamil Nadu Ranji players S Badrinath, L Balaji, ICL-returned Hemang Badani, Abhinav Mukund and R Ashwin.
Oil firms Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum Corporation and Oil and Natural Gas Corporation have a fleet of top cricketers at their disposal to represent them in the event.
IOL would have the services of ODI regular Rohit Sharma, Mumbai Ranji players Wasim Jaffer, Ajinkya Rahane, Saurashtra's Cheteshwar Pujara and UP's Ravikant Shukla, among others.
S Sreesanth, out of the Indian team for a lengthy period of time, would have the chance to impress by turning out for BPCL along with Mumbai all rounder Abhishek Nayar and ODI regular Pragyan Ojha.
While ONGC is unlikely to have the services of Sehwag, who is recovering from a shoulder surgery, it will have a strong pace bowling attack at its command, manned by Ishant Sharma, Munaf Patel and Praveen Kumar along with leg spinner Amit Mishra.
Opener Gautam Gambhir, recently crowned the world's number one Test batsman as per the ICC's latest rankings, would spearhead the batting with the experienced Mithun Manhas lending stability down the order.
Retired former India skipper Sourav Ganguly is expected to turn out for Tata Sports Club which has a host of current Mumbai Ranji players to choose from apart from exciting Jharkhand batsman Sourabh Tiwari and Ishant Jaggi, a member of the Emerging India players squad now touring Australia.
A spokesperson for Reliance Industries Limited, which owns the Mumbai Indians IPL franchise outfit, said that they were awaiting word from the BCCI before finalising their squad.
"We will do so if and when the BCCI gives the go ahead", he said.
RIL and four other corporates have shown their interest in taking part in the tournament which, at present, has been scheduled to be played among 12 outfits.