Ranji Trophy 2013-14 October 15, 2013

Zaheer to lead Mumbai in Ranji opener

Sachin Tendulkar will play his last domestic match under the captaincy of Zaheer Khan, during defending champions Mumbai's Ranji Trophy season opener against Haryana, at Lahli from October 27.

Tendulkar, who will retire at the end of the two-Test series against West Indies in November, will get an opportunity to spend some time at the crease going into the Test series. Zaheer, on the other hand, will be keen to put in an impressive performance and stake a claim for a Test comeback.

Zaheer, however, was named captain only for the Haryana game, with Rohit Sharma being given the leadership for the season. Rohit had led Mumbai during regular captain Ajit Agarkar's absences in the previous season.

Despite the absence of offspinner Ramesh Powar, who moved to Rajasthan, and left-arm spinner Ankeet Chavan, who was banned for life for his alleged role in IPL spot-fixing, young left-arm spinner Harmeet Singh hasn't found a place in the squad for the first game.

The Mumbai selection panel, headed by former India opener Sudhir Naik, preferred the left-arm spin duo of Iqbal Abdulla and Vishal Dabholkar. They are only two spinners in the squad because of the seamer-friendly conditions in Lahli.

Harmeet, who was let off due to lack of evidence during the BCCI's internal spot-fixing inquiry, has hardly had match practice. His anticipated move to Vidarbha was stalled and he ran drinks for Rajasthan Royals all through Champions League T20. He did not take a wicket in a Times Shield match for Air India last week either. However, on Wednesday, when the Mumbai team was picked, Harmeet took four wickets for Air India.

Squad: Zaheer Khan (capt), Abhishek Nayar (vc), Sachin Tendulkar, Wasim Jaffer, Ajinkya Rahane, Dhawal Kulkarni, Iqbal Abdullah, Vishal Dabholkar, Sufiyan Shaikh, Kaustubh Pawar, Siddhesh Lad, Javed Khan, Hiken Shah, Balwinder Singh Sandhu (Jr), Aditya Tare.

Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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