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January 21, 2014
Vijay Zol, the Maharashtra batsman and India Under-19 captain, has been asked to skip the Ranji Trophy final and instead train with the India U-19 squad ahead of the upcoming ICC U-19 World Cup in the UAE.
The final preparatory camp of the U-19 squad started at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore on Tuesday. Since the Ranji Trophy semifinal overlapped with the preparatory camp, the Maharashtra Cricket Association had to seek BCCI's permission for releasing Zol for the semifinal. But with Maharashtra beating Bengal by 10 wickets within three days, Zol reported at the NCA on the opening day of the camp.
Ratnakar Shetty, BCCI's general manager cricket operations, said the question of the BCCI allowing Zol to contest the final, starting in Hyderabad from January 29, didn't even arise. "It was told to the Maharashtra Cricket Association that Zol will be released only for the semifinal," Shetty told ESPNcricinfo.
Maharashtra coach Surendra Bhave said it was unfortunate for the player to have missed out on an opportunity to play the Ranji final, that too in his debut first-class season. "I would say competing in the Ranji Trophy final is much better than going through monotonous drills in the nets, but we can't do much about it," Bhave said. "The team as a whole won't suffer much since we have a ready replacement for him."
Zol, who scored an unbeaten double hundred on his Ranji debut in Maharashtra's season-opener, missed their last two league matches due to the U-19 Asia Cup in the UAE. He scored a century in the final against Pakistan in the Under-19 Asia Cup and continued his form with a valuable 91 not out to help Maharashtra shock defending champions Mumbai in the quarterfinal.
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