Bangalore, Nov 1: November 2, Friday, will be a special day in Ranji Trophy history. After a long time, the country's premier domestic first-class tournament will witness star cricketers battling it out at various grounds.
Ranji Trophy 2012-13 season will get under way on Friday. And we will witness Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Zaheer Khan, Yuvraj Singh, Virat Kohli, R Ashwin, Pragyan Ojha, Suresh Raina, Ishant Sharma, Harbhjan Singh and many more India players in action.
It is a long list of star cricketers which will light up proceedings over the next four days. Tendulkar will pad up to bat against Railways at the Wankhede Stadium while Sehwag, Gambhir and Kohli will lead Delhi's strong batting line-up against Uttar Pradesh in Ghaziabad.
The only man from the current Indian team to miss out on the opener is captain MS Dhoni. He has opted out of Jharkhand's game against Jammu and Kashmir due to illness.
Recently retired VVS Laxman will try to help his team Hyderabad regain lost ground as he captains the side this season. He and Hyderabad will be up against Punjab featuring Harbhajan and Yuvraj.
Baroda will be led by Yusuf Pathan against Karnataka. Yusuf will be hoping to score big this season and come back into India team. Karnataka will have R Vinay Kumar as captain.
Vinay, Yuvraj, Ashok Dinda, Raina, Irfan Pathan, Abhinav Mukund, M Vijay, Ajinkya Rahane, Manoj Tiwary and Wriddhiman Saha are currently involved in India A's game against England and will rush to their respective Ranji Trophy venues to play tomorrow.
For these India A players, it will be non-stop cricket for seven days.
India Test batsman Cheteshwar Pujara's Saurashtra do not have a game on November 2 and the right-hander will be part of Mumbai A to face England in a warm-up clash from Saturday.
The season opening day will see 12 matches kick-starting. A revamped format from this year has divided 27 teams into three groups. Top three from Group A and B and two from Group C will make the quarter-finals.
Ranji Trophy 2012-13 Pools
Group A: Rajasthan, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Madhya Pradesh, Saurashtra, Railways, Bengal, Punjab, Gujarat
Group B: Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Vidarbha, Delhi, Baroda, Odisha
Group C: Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Services, Tripura, Goa, Jharkhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Assam
Opening Round Matches (November 2 to 5)
Group A: Bengal Vs Rajasthan in Kolkata; Mumbai Vs Railways in Mumbai; Punjab Vs Hyderabad in Mohali; Madhya Pradesh Vs Gujarat in Indore
Group B: Odisha Vs Tamil Nadu in Cuttack; Haryana Vs Vidarbha in Rohtak; Baroda Vs Karnataka in Baroda; Uttar Pradesh Vs Delhi in Ghaziabad
Group C: Himachal Pradesh Vs Kerala in Dharamsala; Andhra Vs Services in Anantapur; Assam Vs Tripura in Guwahati; Jammu and Kashmir Vs Jharkhand in Jammu