West Zone have edge in quarter-finals

West Zone will renew their rivalry with South Zone at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium here from Thursday for a place in the semi-finals of the Duleep Trophy. While West cast wear a totally different look to last year, South have their core players intact with the exception of the injured Robin Uthappa.
Led by pacer R. Vinay Kumar, South Zone are up against a powerful batting line-up that includes Wasim Jaffer, Harshad Khadiwale, Manpreet Juneja and Yusuf Pathan. The home team also have a useful batting order headlined by Abhinav Mukund, Manish Pandey, Akshath Reddy and B. Aparajith.
It’s the bowling that looks a bit inexperienced for South. West, on the other hand, have a settled spin pair in Rakesh Dhruv and Kamlesh Makwana in addition to the pace attack of Murtaza Vora and Jaydev Unadkat. South’s spinners have not played too much first-class cricket and it will require an effort from them to pose questions to the strong West batting unit.
South Zone coach Sunil Subramanian admitted that his spinners were short on experience. “But there is no doubt about their talent. I had a look at Shahid in the nets for the first time. Off-spinner Malolan, who has played only six-odd first-class matches, has been in excellent for him in the run-up to the tournament. He has wickets against his name in the TNCA first division and the Buchi Babu. We hope he carries on his good work,” he said.
The all-round abilities of Aparajith are a big plus for South.
“The idea is to have five bowling options. Four of them will be specialists. The way Aparajith has been bowling he looks as good as a specialist,” the coach said.
The game-changers could be Vinay and Unadkat. A pitch that has a tinge of green as a result of overnight rain might assist the quicks in the first session of play. Having been selected for the home ODI series against Australia, Unadkat and Vinay will be keen to prove themselves.

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West not only about Jaffer: coach
Age Correspondent
Chennai, Oct. 2

The crack of ball on bat during Wasim Jaffer’s practice session at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium here on Wednesday was full-blooded. After completing his routine, the West Zone skipper spoke of his team’s challenge of facing South Zone on their home turf.
“South have always been a good side,” Jaffer said. “With the likes of Vinay, Mithun and some top batsmen in their side, it’s going to be a good contest. The rivalry is there for a long time. It’s difficult to say one side is strong and the other weak. We are yet to decide on our bowling combination. With Yusuf Pathan in, we have got options.”
South coach Sunil Subramanian’s respect for West came out in statistics. “West, if you add up the career runs of all their players, have got around 36,530. Jaffer alone has 16.000 plus runs. There are quite a few players who have scored 3,000-odd runs. In such a well-settled unit, every wicket — not just Jaffer’s — is important,” he said.

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