July 18, 2003

Big guns to play in Irani Trophy

Wisden Cricinfo staff

The top names in Indian cricket will participate in India's domestic season opener. The Irani Trophy match between Ranji Trophy champions Mumbai and Rest of India, to be held in Chennai from September 18-22, will witness Sachin Tendulkar do battle against Zaheer Khan, Anil Kumble and Sourav Ganguly.

According to a report in the Mid-Day, Ratnakar Shetty, joint secretary of the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA), said that India's senior players requested the board to bring forward the game so that they could play a five-day match before taking on New Zealand in the two-Test series. India haven't played a Test since their tour of New Zealand in December last year.

Shetty also confirmed that Tendulkar would play the match. "I spoke to him (Tendulkar) on Wednesday and he confirmed his availability." The early scheduling meant that Mumbai forfeited their right - as Ranji Trophy winners - of hosting the match, as it is unlikely that the monsoonal showers will ease off by then.

Meanwhile, the report also indicated that Sairaj Bahutule is likely to lead Mumbai. Paras Mhambrey, who guided them to the Ranji triumph, retired at the end of the last season.