Four stars pad up for IPL

Four Jharkhand players, two less than last year's six, will be turning out for various franchises during the sixth edition of Indian Premier League (IPL), the cash-rich version of T20 cricket that is to begin in April.

While Royal Challengers Bangalore have retained dashing left-hander Saurabh Tiwary, Shahbaz Nadeem and Varun Aaron will don Delhi Daredevils jerseys. Rahul Shukla, on the other hand, will turn out for Mumbai Indians.

Two others ' Ishank Jaggi (Deccan Chargers) and Sunny Gupta (Delhi Daredevils) ' who figured prominently in Jharkhand's charge in the Ranji Trophy last season, are, however, likely to miss out on this year's IPL action as they could not find new buyers.

Aaron, who has been undergoing rehabilitation for a back injury at Bangalore-based National Cricket Academy for over a year now, has not taken a call on whether he would play for the GMR Group-owned Delhi Daredevils in the IPL this season.

The 25-year-old, who became quite a sensation in the domestic, national and international circuits for tormenting batsmen with his pace, said he was keeping his fingers crossed.

"I am regaining my fitness levels. But a final call on the IPL will come only after I come back from the UK after consulting doctors. So by next week I will get to know whether I am match fit," Aaron told The Telegraph over phone from Bangalore.

On the other hand, Tiwary and Nadeem have been in tremendous form in the Ranjis and are likely to find spots in the playing XI of their respective IPL teams.

Southpaw Tiwary, who scored the maximum number of runs for Jharkhand in the last Ranji season, however, is yet to justify his Rs 7.37 crore tag for which liquor baron Vijay Mallya's Royal Challengers Bangalore had picked him up during the 2011 IPL auction.

Despite being a regular member of the playing 11, the Jamshedpur-based player has not been able to play to his potential in the IPL, prompting critics to call for his head.

"Acche form mai hoon. Run banane meri pehli prathamikta hogi (I have been in good nick. Scoring runs for the team will be my top priority)," the former Jharkhand skipper said.

He added that he was looking forward to carry his form and get some good match practice during the upcoming inter-state one-day (Ranji) inter-zonal league for the Vijay Hazare Trophy. The event kicks off in Calcutta from Saturday.

Nadeem, the second highest wicket-taker in the recent Ranji Trophy, however, is likely to continue to bowl for the Delhi outfit, drying up runs and choking batsmen.

Nadeem, who ended with 42 wickets in the Ranji trophy, is licking his paws and raring to go. He is in solid form and is likely to get quite a few matches with the Delhi team.

"IPL is a big stage where all the players want to perform. I am bowling well and wish to carry my form,"Nadeem said.

Shukla, however, is yet to make it to the playing 11 for the Mumbai Indians.

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