During the Ranji Trophy 2017/18, Punjab was deprived of the services of the star players like Harbhajan Singh and Yuvraj Singh. While Bhajji just played two games, Yuvraj appeared in one sole match for the state. Their absence had an impact on the performance of the team and Punjab failed to make it to the next stage.

In the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy though, Punjab had a luxury of using these two, and in the presence of the senior players, Punjab has made it to the next stage of the T20 tournament.

Ajay Ratra, Punjab Head Coach, has said the presence of these two senior players is quite helpful for the team due to the experience they possess,

“They are legends… So they come with a lot of experience. That turns out to be very helpful for others in the team. They get to know how to deal with different situations… Like Yuvraj advises the younger batsmen how to pace their innings. Harbhajan too helps the young bowlers,” the former India wicketkeeper told Telegraph India.

Punjab will face Karnataka, Mumbai, Jharkhand and Rajasthan in the Super League. The top two teams from both the groups will make it to the final of the tournament, which will be played on January 27, the same day when the first day of IPL auction will take place.

On being asked whether IPL auction is a distraction for the players, he (Ratra) said the players should focus on game rather than the auction,

“Look, normally, it should serve as a motivation. But one shouldn’t focus on the IPL. We always tell them to be in the present, focus on the match they are playing. If you play well in this tournament, you will automatically be in demand in the IPL auction. But if you keep thinking about IPL, you will lose focus and will not be able to perform well here. Ambition is fine, but you have to be in the present,” he added.

Harbhajan Singh, Yuvraj Singh, Virat Kohli, Anushka Sharma, Wedding Reception, Mumbai
Photo Credit: Getty Images.

However, it is a known fact the sole aim of the players is to do well in the tournament to attract the IPL franchises on the auction day, as if this would not have been the case, BCCI hadn’t advanced the tournament by few weeks. The sole purpose of BCCI to prepone it was to give players an opportunity do well ahead of IPL auction.

Other domestic tournaments were delayed to facilitate the staging of the T20 tournament. In fact, Irani Cup was also ben deferred to March and a cramped domestic schedule will see the Deodhar Trophy and Irani Cup starting on the same day.

BCCI will have to tinker the domestic schedule, as in case of Vidarbha winning the Vijay Hazare tournament; then it is practically not possible for the team to field two teams for two different tournaments.

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