Ghaziabad: For the first time in many years, the opening round of the Ranji Trophy, beginning on Friday (November 2), assumes massive significance simply because almost all the top stars will play for their respective states ahead of the Test series against England starting in Ahmedabad on November 15.
Several players will fly out of Mumbai on Thursday (November 1) evening at the conclusion of India A's three-day game against England, indicative of the players’ desire to test out form and fitness ahead of the four-Test series against England. That players such as Sachin Tendulkar, Zaheer Khan, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh, among others, as well as VVS Laxman, retired from international cricket, will be seen in action is exactly the tonic domestic cricket requires to raise its profile.
Among the host of matches that will simultaneously begin across several venues, two clashes will be keenly followed with the Test series looming. Tendulkar, who will be making his first Ranji Trophy appearance since the 2008-2009 final against Uttar Pradesh, and Zaheer feature in a strong 13-man Mumbai squad that will take on Railways at the Wankhede Stadium, while Delhi’s away clash against Uttar Pradesh in Ghaziabad also matches up when it comes to star power.