Faiz Fazal all set to play Vijay Hazare Trophy after clearing fitness test
NAGPUR: The suspense over Faiz Fazal's availability for Vijay Hazare Trophy One-Dayers ended on Friday, a day before the Vidarbha team is scheduled to fly out to Vadodara. Vidarbha's most successful skipper was omitted from the initial squad raising a few eyebrows. Later, it was learnt Faiz was nursing an injury and he will have to clear a fitness test.
On Friday, Faiz, who had an injury on his left hand little finger, which is now completely healed, was asked to appear for a fitness test. Faiz cleared the test with ease.
"The fitness test was conducted as scheduled on Friday. We made him undergo some fielding drills. He was at his best and there were no signs of any niggle. We were satisfied with his performance and have asked him to join the team. He will fly with the team on Saturday," said a source in the VCA.
"Faiz will be the 16th member of the team. Faiz's availability is a huge boost to the side. We are hoping to see some good results under the new skipper Wasim Jaffer in the one-day format," the source added.
The earlier omission of Faiz was a bit surprising. Faiz led India Green into the Duleep Trophy final earlier this month. Later, he was made Bapuna XI's captain in VCA's Bapuna Cup Trophy, which was to start two days after the Duleep Trophy final ended. Bapuna Cup is treated as a selection trial for Vidarbha senior team.
The 41-year-old Jaffer will lead Vidarbha in the tournament. They will play their first Group 'B' match against Delhi on September 24. Maharahstra, Baroda, Punjab, Haryana, Odisha, Himachal and Uttar Pradesh are the other teams in the group.
Though Jaffer was not a first-choice limited over batsman till the last season, his sudden elevation as captain may help Vidarbha get the stability in their batting. Last year, Jaffer was part of the team but he played just one of the seven matches.
Jaffer's good run in the Bangladesh's domestic One-day league might have played a big role in his appointment as captain. Representing Abhani Limited in the Dhaka Premier Division Cricket League, Jaffer scored 435 runs in 10 matches in Bangladesh. The veteran averaged 48.33 and had a strike rate of 80.70 as he scored four half centuries.
The team will be looking for similar performance from Jaffer to stitch a successful one-day campaign.
THE TEAM: Wasim Jaffer (Captain), Faiz Fazal, R Sanjay, Atharva Taide, Ganesh Satish, Rushabh Rathod, Apoorva Wankhade, Jitesh Sharma (wicketkeeper), Akshay Wadkar (wicketkeeper), Akshay Wakhare, Akshay Karnewar, Aditya Sarvate, Umesh Yadav, Yash Thakur, Darshan Nalkande, Shrikant Wagh.
Coach: Chandrakant Pandit.