The Duleep Trophy 2023 final is all set to be held between the West Zone and the South Zone at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru from July 12. In a repeat of the 2022 final, West Zone will have a proud record to defend as they have won the tournament 19 times, while South Zone will be seeking redemption after their defeat in the previous season.
West Zone’s campaign has been led by the accomplished Indian batter Cheteshwar Pujara. The 35-year-old put in a sensational performance in the Duleep Trophy semi-final, where he scored a massive 133 runs against Central Zone and propelled his side to the summit clash of the competition.
“Gearing up for the finals! #DuleepTrophy,” Pujara captioned a video of himself batting in the nets on Twitter ahead of the final. It could be a possibility that Pujara could be the most important player for West Zone in their quest for the title. With an excellent performance in the semi-finals, he will look to put in a similar showing when they take on South Zone.
— Cheteshwar Pujara (@cheteshwar1) July 11, 2023
Pujara last featured for India in the final of the World Test Championship when the side took on Australia at the Oval in London. Notably, India was dominated throughout the five days of play by Australia and eventually lost the game by 209 runs.
Furthermore, as the side gears up for their upcoming series against the West Indies, Pujara has been sidelined from the Test squad. Many fans took to Twitter to criticize the board’s decision to leave the 35-year-old out. With many wondering if this would be the end of the line for Pujara in his international career, the veteran will be keen on proving the doubters wrong and possibly making his India comeback in the coming months.
South Zone, on the other hand, will be looking to get their hands on the title after their defeat in the 2022 season. The team is led by Hanuma Vihari and boasts a strong batting line-up, which includes the likes of Mayank Agarwal, Sai Sudharsan, and R Samarth.