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    HP, Andhra Group C favourites

    Group C comprises Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Services, Tripura, Goa, Jharkhand, Jammu & Kashmir and Assam.

    The restructured Ranji Trophy will see the three-group format make its debut in the 2012-13 season, which will start rolling with the first-round matches commencing November 2.

    Group A and Group B will enjoy the elite status, from where the top three teams will make it to the last eight. Teams finishing last in Group A and B will be relegated to Group C, comprising Plate Division teams of last season, from where the top two teams will make it to the quarter-finals.

    Himachal Pradesh remain the overwhelming favourites to top Group C, especially after Aakash Chopra decided to make the switch from the champions of the last two seasons - Rajasthan. But Himachal may face stiff competition from the likes of Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand, who are the underdogs of Group C.

    Prediction: Himachal Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh to progress to the quarter-finals.

    At the time of publishing, all Group C teams except Goa had announced their squads.

    Andhra Pradesh: AG Pradeep (Capt), Bodapati Sumanth, Tekkami Atchuta Rao, Bandaru Ayyappa, Shaik Basha, Bharat Reddy, Gonnabattula Chiranjeevi, Amol Muzumdar, Rajesh Pawar, Prasanth Kumar, Syed Sahabuddin, Duvvarapu Shivkumar, Vamsi Krishna, Paidikalva Vijaykumar, Hemal Watekar

    Assam: Dheeraj Jadhav (capt), Pritam Debnath, Abu Nechim, Arup Das, Pallavkumar Das, Deepak Gohain, Dhiraj Goswami, Arlen Konwar, Rajdeep Das (wk), Sibsankar Roy, Gokul Sharma, Amit Sinha, Jamaluddin Syed Mohammad, Tarjinder Singh, Hokaito Zhimomi

    Himachal Pradesh: Aakash Chopra (capt), Sumeet Verma, Amit Kumar, Aatish Bhalaik (wk), Prashant Chopra, Rishi Dhawan, Paras Dogra, Chandrasekar Ganapathy, Gurvinder Singh, Hemanth Kumar, Vikramjeet Malik, Jitender Mehta, Mohinder Sharma, Mukesh Sharma, Sangram Singh, Varun Sharma

    Jammu & Kashmir: Aamir Aziz, Abid Nabi, Adil Rishi, Bandeep Singh, Samiullah Beigh, Arshad Bhatt, Ram Dayal, Manish Dogra, Manik Gupta, Hardeep Singh, Dhruv Mahajan, Mohammed Mudhasir, Parvez Rassol, Ian Dev Singh

    Jharkhand: Shahbaz Nadeem (capt), Manish Vardhan, Deepak Chougule, Kumar Deobrat, Shiv Gautam, Sunny Gupta, Amir Hashmi, Ishank Jaggi, Jaskaran Singh, Rameez Nemat, Samar Quadri, Shankar Rao, Rahul Shukla, Saurabh Tiwary, Ajay Yadav

    Kerala: Sony Cheruvathur (capt), Sachin Baby, Sadanandan Anish, Perumparambath Anthaf, Robert Fernandez, Raiphi Gomez, Abhishek Hegde, VA Jagadeesh, Akshay Kodoth (wk), Unnikrishnan Manukrishnan, Prasanth Parameswaran, Padmanabhan Prasanth, Rohan Prem, Sanju Samson, Kanakkatharaparambu Sreejith

    Services: Soomik Chatarjee (capt), Penta Rao, Pratik Desai, Ansuhl Gupta, Shakti Malviya, Muzzaffaruddin Khalid, Shadab Nazar, Nishan Singh, Rajat Paliwal, Sarabjit Singh, Avishek Sinha, Soumyaranjan Swain, Nakul Verma, Suraj Yadav, Yashpal Singh

    Tripura: Ajay Ratra (capt/wk), Manisankar Murasingh, Abbas Ali, Kaushal Acharjee, Timir Chanda, Debabrata Chowdhury, Abhijit Dey, Rajib Datta, Sanjay Majumder, Udit Patel, Rana Dutta, Rajib Saha, Tushar Saha, Samrat Singha, Subhrajit Roy

    Goa: Yet to be announced.

    Key Encounters:

    Himachal Pradesh vs Andhra Pradesh - Nov 17-20, 2012

    Jharkhand vs Himachal Pradesh - Nov 24-27, 2012

    Jharkhand v Andhra Pradesh - Dec 15-18, 2012