Ranji Trophy 2012-13 October 26, 2012

Tendulkar, Zaheer to play Mumbai's first Ranji game

ESPNcricinfo staff

Ranji Trophy has received a big boost with the selection of Sachin Tendulkar and Zaheer Khan for Mumbai's first match, against Railways at Wankhede Stadium. The season kicks off on November 2, and it is understood that both Tendulkar and Zaheer wanted to get some first-class match time before the Test series against England, which begins on November 15. Ajit Agarkar had already been named captain for the first four Mumbai games. Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane are the other attractions in the strong 13-member Mumbai squad, to go with domestic warhorses Ramesh Powar and Abhishek Nayar.

Tendulkar's last Ranji Trophy appearance was Mumbai's final win in 2008-09. Apart from being Mumbai's 38th Ranji title, the match is also remembered for Tendulkar's first first-class duck in Indian domestic cricket. Tendulkar has been going through a lean patch in Test cricket. His last century came in January 2011, and despite looking in good touch in Australia, he didn't score more than 80 in an innings. When he was bowled three times in three innings against New Zealand, former cricketers and commentators, including Sunil Gavaskar, showed concern over his form.

Having played in the Champions League T20 after the New Zealand series, Tendulkar showed eagerness to play some first-class cricket before the big Test season ahead. India play four Tests each against England and Australia.

Zaheer last played for Mumbai just before leaving for Australia last year. He, too, hasn't been in great form since India's World Cup win in 2011. He last took a Test five-for in October 2010. His fitness and endurance have been a concern too. He has played only seven Tests since the World Cup, breaking down in England.

Wasim Jaffer, Suryakumar Yadav and Harmeet Singh were the significant names names missing in the Mumbai squad. Jaffer, the all-time leading run-getter in Ranji Trophy, has asked for leave for Haj pilgrimage. Harmeet is out with a finger injury. Yadav will lead the MCA XI against England A in a tour game that will clash with the Ranji season opener. Consider all these uncertainties, the Mumbai selectors have named the squad only for the first match.

Mumbai squad Ajit Agarkar (capt.), Sachin Tendulkar, Zaheer Khan, Ramesh Poawr, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Abhishek Nayar, Dhawal Kulkarni, Ankeet Chavan, Kaustubh Pawar, Iqbal Abdulla, Aditya Tare (wk), Akhil Herwadkar (wk)

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  • Dummy4 on October 30, 2012, 18:26 GMT

    this will be an acid test for tendulkar. based on his performance only he should be a part of the test team. more youngsters are awaiting their chance

  • Ramshankar on October 30, 2012, 6:15 GMT

    If the captain need to drop a non-performer, he should drop himself first, and be a non-playing captain (I don't know where they can be one). Sachin, despite the so-called-bad-form, is the second highest averaged test player for India after Kohli. Will the captain drop all those batsmen below Sachin before dropping him?

  • Subash on October 29, 2012, 20:11 GMT

    So now he is going to block a career of a young cricketer at the domestic level....How selfish can one get.....Will he be dropped from Indian test team if he scores a pair of ducks in this domestic game. I guess not.

  • Dummy4 on October 29, 2012, 12:56 GMT

    If Ranji start paying in 7 figure pay, these money making machine not ignore to play domestic cricket.it's just play for fun not for practice. what happen if they fail to impress they will not selected in Team India same as any junior player...

  • Cricket on October 29, 2012, 12:50 GMT

    Unfortunately at their stage of their respective careers this is probably too little too late. The selectors and captain should be strong enough to drop any player for not performing whatever the reason and they then return to the domestic game to prove form and fitness and earn their place in the squad again. Hope it's is more than a token gesture in response to crticism.

  • Soumya on October 29, 2012, 9:37 GMT

    The bowling attack of Railways is very very weak in comparison to the English bowling attack.. So, it is a useless practice match for Tendulkar. I think it is the time to look forward, Parvinder Awana, Ashok Dinda should given a chance instead of old zaheer.

  • Akshita on October 28, 2012, 14:31 GMT

    What if they fail poorly in the Ranji match (although not likely to happen)????

  • s on October 28, 2012, 11:03 GMT

    Good decision by Tendulkar and Zak to play in the Ranji Trophy. If only they could play a few more games before England arrive! It would be a boon both to them and the players in the Mumbai squad.

  • Ajay on October 28, 2012, 5:47 GMT

    All the critics of Tendulkar , one thing is sure even you guys pray for Tendulkar success from some corner of ur heart. Challenge you cant deny this fact

  • Rama on October 28, 2012, 1:02 GMT

    Great achievement ! At last they have been selected to ply Ranji! It will be an insult to them.

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