Bhubaneswar: Odisha faces Tripura in the first match of the Sayed Mustaq Ali T20 Zonal League 2017 that starts from Sunday across the country. In the Eastern Zonal League both the teams will lock horns at Eden gardens in Kolkata.
This time former Ranji captain Biplab Samantray is leading Odisha team in the absence of regular skipper Govinda Poddar who would not be available for the T20 matches due to personal reasons. As many as 5 new faces have been inducted to the T20 team that include Ranji opener Sandeep Pattnaik, pacer Soumendra Das, all-rounder Prayas Singh Thakur, middle order batsman Subhranshu Senapati and wicketkeeper Saurabh Rawat. Pattnaik, Senapati and Rawat had debuted in multi day Ranji Trophy this year.
Besides the selectors have chosen veteran all-rounders Abhilash Mallick and Paresh Patel for the team who they believe will give stability and help the team with their experience.
Odisha will lock horns with Jharkhand on January 31 in its second match while it faces Bengal on February 3 in its third encounter and meets Assam on February 5 for its final league match. Last year Odisha lost all its four matches and was ousted from the league stage.