Veteran Bengal batter Abhimanyu Easwaran is set to lead the East Zone with Shahbaz Nadeem as his deputy in the Duleep Trophy 2023, starting June 28 in Bengaluru. Star wicketkeeper-batter Ishan Kishan opted out of the domestic tournament with a series in the West Indies within a month’s time.
According to a PTI report, the East Zone selectors were baffled when they came to know that Kishan didn’t want to play the first-class tournament which is being held right before the two-Test series in the Caribbean starting July 12.
“Since he was in the India squad for the WTC final and KS Bharat, the man who kept wickets is playing for South Zone, we asked Zonal selection committee convenor Debasish Chakraborty to tell us if we could select Kishan,” an East Zone selection committee member was quoted as saying by PTI.
“As he is a senior India regular in the white ball, he would have got the captaincy. Chakraborty got in touch with Ishan over the phone and came back and told us that he is not interested in playing Duleep Trophy. We were not told if he has an injury or not. Just that he doesn’t want to play,” the selector further added.
The report further stated that once Kishan conveyed his decision, Tripura selector Jayanta Dey wanted Wriddhiman Saha and he was also contacted.
“To be fair to Wriddhiman, he said that Duleep Trophy is for India hopefuls. If I am never going to play for India, then doesn’t make sense in preventing a youngster from making a case. Hence, we selected Abhishek Porel, who was the third choice,” he added.
Meanwhile, Assam all-rounder Riyan Parag has been named in the 15-men squad. The 21-year-old had an underwhelming season with the Rajasthan Royals in the IPL 2023. However, he managed to bag a spot in the East Zone squad.
Wicketkeeper-batter Abhishek Porel and all-rounders Shahbaz Ahmed and Mukesh Kumar were the other notable additions to the squad. Bengal’s young pacer Ishan Porel and spinner Anukul Roy have also been included for the first-class tournament.
Squad: A Easwaran (c), Santanu Mishra, Sudip Gharami, Riyan Parag, A. Majumdar, Bipin Saurabh, Abhishek Porel (wk), K Kushagra (wk), Shahbaz Nadeem (vc), Shahbaz Ahmed, Mukesh Kumar, Akash Deep, Anukul Roy, M Mura Singh, Ishan Porel.
(With PTI Inputs)