Tare withdrawal leaves Mumbai thin before season-opener
Last year's runners-up and 41-time champions Mumbai will be without several of their big players in their season opener against Madhya Pradesh. Aditya Tare, their captain, became the latest absentee, having withdrawn to be with his wife, who is expecting their child. Suryakumar Yadav, Tare's deputy, will lead Mumbai instead. Suryakumar had been sacked as Mumbai captain midway through the 2014-15 season, and was replaced by Tare.
Tare's decision to withdraw follows a similar one by Ajinkya Rahane. It is understood that Rahane informed the Mumbai selectors on the day of selection that he wanted to preserve himself for the upcoming New Zealand series.
Mumbai are already without Shreyas Iyer, Prithvi Shaw and Dhawal Kulkarni, who are all part of the Board President's XI squad that will play the visiting New Zealand team in a brace of warm-up matches in Mumbai, while Shardul Thakur is currently with the India A team for the one-dayers against New Zealand A. Pace bowlers Balwinder Sandhu and Tushar Deshpande are injured.
Karthik boost likely for TN
Wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik, who was part of India's squad for the T20 series against Australia, is set to play for Tamil Nadu in their second-round clash against Tripura, less than 15 hours after the third T20I was abandoned in Hyderabad.
"If Karthik's flight lands on time in the morning, he will play," captain Abhinav Mukund said on the eve of the match.
Karthik had scored 704 runs in 10 matches at an average of 54.15 in Tamil Nadu's run to the Ranji Trophy semi-finals last season. The side, however, will be without B Aparajith, who has joined the India A squad. B Anirudh, who was initially called up to replace Aparajith, is suffering from an eye infection and has been ruled out. Instead, allrounder J Kousik has been named in the squad.
Tamil Nadu had survived a scare in their season opener when Andhra nearly chased down 218 in two sessions.
Binny eyes 1000 season runs
Allrounder Stuart Binny, who has fallen out of favour with the national selectors since he conceded 32 runs in an over against West Indies in a T20I in Lauderhill last year, hasn't given up on a comeback. Hardik Pandya has now established himself as India's first-choice allrounder across formats, but Binny hoped to put himself back in contention by scoring big in this Ranji season.
"The more I try to catch him (Pandya) - however, well he is doing - the more it is going to improve my game," Binny said. "For me to make a comeback, I need to score 1000 runs in the season, and for that, I need to prepare well and not worry about selection or who's doing well around the country."
Rakesh Dhurv retires from all cricket
Left-arm spinner Rakesh Dhurv - who bowled Saurashtra to the Vijay Hazare title in 2008 - has retired from all forms of cricket. Dhurv represented Gujarat, Saurashtra and Vidarbha between 1999 and 2015, picking up 271 first-wicket wickets in addition to 67 wickets in List A and T20 cricket. His last first-class match was for Vidarbha in the Ranji quarter-final against Tamil Nadu in February 2015. He led Vidarbha's spin attack that season, taking 26 wickets in eight games, which helped the side reach the tournament's knockouts for only the second time in their history.