The invitations tournament, which is in its 16th edition, is usually utilised by the Indian players to tune up for the IPL. This time, it will also serve as a selection precursor for the three-match ODI series at home against South Africa, which will be played between March 12 and 18.
Pandya, India's premier allrounder, hasn't played competitive cricket since September 2019, having undergone surgery for a long-standing back injury. He was initially slated to return during the A team's tour to New Zealand - and later the senior side's tour of the country - but was eventually pulled out of both tours as he hadn't attained full match fitness.
Bhuvneshwar, who had undergone a hernia operation after being sidelined from the ODI series against West Indies last year, is set for his first taste of competitive cricket in two months. Dhawan, who is coming back from a shoulder injury which he sustained during the ODI series at home against Australia earlier this year, will turn out for the Reliance 1 team along with Pandya and Bhuvneshwar.
Fast bowler Kamlesh Nagarkoti, who has been sidelined with injury for almost two years, will represent the DY Patil B side. Despite being prone to injuries and not having played for KKR over the past couple of seasons, the franchised had opted to retain him for the upcoming season.
Dinesh Karthik, Nagarkoti's captain at Knight Riders, and mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy, who last played a competitive game in March last year, will also feature in the tournament.
The 28-year-old Tamil Nadu mystery spinner was sold for big money in the IPL auction for a second successive year, emerging as the highest-paid uncapped Indian, with Knight Riders shelling out INR 4 crore (USD 563,000 approx.) for his seven variations.
However, the availability of both Manish Pandey and K Gowtham are subject to their Ranji Trophy commitments. Karnataka will face Bengal in the semi-finals at Eden Gardens from February 29.
In addition to the big names, the Reliance team will also have former India fast bowler Zaheer Khan in the dugout along with James Pamment , both of whom are now part of the Mumbai Indians' coaching staff. Zaheer is the Mumbai team director while Pamment is the fielding coach.
Reliance 1 team: Shikhar Dhawan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Hardik Pandya, Anmolpreet Singh
BPCL: Manish Pandey, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Shivam Dube, Sanju Samson, Rahul Tripathi, Divyaansh Saxena
DY Patil A team: Dinesh Karthik, Mandeep Singh, Varun Chakravarthy, Rahul Tewatia, Ruturaj Gaikwad
DY Patil B team: Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Varun Aaron, Manan Vohra
CAG: Jalaj Saxena, Prashant Chopra, Ishwar Pandey, Sachin Baby
Income Tax: Atharva Ankolekar
IOC: Aditya Tare, Abhishek Sharma, Siddhesh Lad, Avesh Khan
Bank of Baroda: K Gowtham, KC Cariappa
RBI: Dhruv Shorey