Nitesh Kumar Sahoo

The Odisha Cricket Association (OCA) on Sunday announced the list of 20 players to represent the State in the Ranji Trophy.

Under the leadership of Subhanshru Senapati, the State's Ranji team includes young and experienced players who will compete in the prestigious tournament.

As per BCCI's earlier announcement, four teams each have been divided into eight elite groups while the remaining six form the plate division. Odisha has been clubbed in the Elite D group alongside Mumbai, Goa and Saurashtra.

The expectations remain high as the State team's performance was impressive in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, also known as Ranji One-Day Trophy. 

"We haven't received any match schedule from the BCCI. They have just sent the fixture. The matches will start after the announcement of the final dates. Odisha is placed along 3 other teams in Group D and the venue has been fixed at Ahmedabad," said Prabhanjan Mallick, Senior Team Chief Selector.

"Senapati, who led the one-day team, will lead the day matches. Rakesh Pattnaik, Ashis Rai, Anshuman Rath, Prashanth Rana and Tarini Shah are among the new players in the team," he added.

Zafer has been appointed as the head coach of the team. The team includes four openers and two wicket-keepers. 

Anshuman Rath, who played in the World Cup from the Hong-Kong team, will play from Odisha team for the first time.

Veteran bowler Basanta Mohanty has been included in the team.

The tournament was cancelled twice owing to the Covid pandemic situation across the country.

The elite group matches will be played in Rajkot, Cuttack, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Trivandrum, Delhi, Haryana and Guwahati. Plate league matches will be held in Kolkata, requiring nine bio-secure bubbles for nine venues.