Naman Ojha to lead Rest of India in Irani Cup
Madhya Pradesh wicketkeeper-batsman Naman Ojha, who finished the Ranji Trophy season with 645 runs including four successive fifty-plus scores in the knockouts, has been named as the captain of the 15-man Rest of India squad. They will play 41-time Ranji Trophy champions Mumbai in the Irani Cup at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai, starting March 6.
The squad, which was announced shortly after the Ranji final, featured two Saurashtra players - Sheldon Jackson and Jaydev Unadkat. Jackson tallied 538 runs in 10 matches at 57.41, while Unadkat had a breakthrough season after injury, taking 40 wickets at 20.12.
The squad also included the top two wicket-takers of the season - Jharkhand left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem and Assam pacer Krishna Das. Punjab pacer Barinder Sran, who recently made his international debut in Australia, and Vidarbha offspinner Akshay Wakhare were also in the bowling mix.
Karun Nair, who scored 500 runs this season compared to last time's 709, was one of the two Karnataka players in this year's Irani Cup squad, along with Stuart Binny. Vidarbha's Faiz Fazal and Jammu and Kashmir's Ian Dev Singh add more weight to the batting line-up. Andhra's Srikar Bharat was the other wicketkeeper in the squad apart from Ojha. Assam's Arun Karthik, who was the third highest run-getter this season behind Shreyas Iyer and Akhil Herwadkar, and allrounder Jalaj Saxena, who piled up 588 runs and 49 wickets, didn't find a place in the squad.
Rest of India squad: KS Bharat, Faiz Fazal, Karun Nair, Sheldon Jackson, Naman Ojha (captain), Stuart Binny, Shahbaz Nadeem, Jayant Yadav, Nathu Singh, Jaydev Unadkat, Barinder Sran, Krishna Das, Sudip Chatterjee, Ian Dev Singh, Akshay Wakhare.