Ranji Trophy 2012-13 December 26, 2012

Tendulkar opts out of Mumbai's crucial Ranji tie

Sachin Tendulkar, who announced his retirement from ODIs on Sunday, has decided to skip Mumbai's last Ranji Trophy league game but has made himself available for the knockout stages should the 39-times champions progress to the quarterfinals.

"I asked him [Sachin Tendulkar] if he was available but he said since he is on a break, he won't be able to play [the Gujarat game]. But he has made himself available for the knockouts," Mumbai Cricket Association joint secretary Nitin Dalal said.

Mumbai would have received a big boost had Tendulkar, who had scored a century in Mumbai's season-opener against Railways last month, been available for the game against second-placed Gujarat that takes place at the Dr DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai from December 29. If Ajit Agarkar's men, who garnerend six points in a tight match in Indore on Tuesday, have to progress to the knockouts, they will ideally be looking at registering their second successive victory.

Mumbai are placed third in the points table, tied on 20 points with Madhya Pradesh. They will have to at least secure a first-innings lead in order to be among the three teams that will progress to the last eight from the group. Punjab are at the top of the group with 32 points, but five teams are in contention for the remaining two slots.

Meanwhile, the Mumbai selectors, headed by chief national selector Sandeep Patil dropped Iqbal Abdulla. The left-arm spinner had put down a regulation catch on the boundary line which almost cost Mumbai the game. Paceman Dhawal Kulkarni, who was unfit for the MP game, has replaced Abdulla in the squad.

This is the second instance this season in which the Mumbai selectors have severely punished a player for dropping a catch. Medium pacer Kshemal Waingankar, whose reprieve helped Wriddhiman Saha earn Bengal a draw at the Brabourne Stadium, was axed after the game.

The squad: Ajit Agarkar (capt), Kaustubh Pawar, Wasim Jaffer, Hiken Shah, Suryakumar Yadav, Abhishek Nayar, Aditya Tare (wk), Ankeet Chavan, Dhawal Kulkarni, Zaheer Khan, Javed Khan, Shardul Thakur, Shoaib Shaikh, Nikhil Patil (Jr), Vishal Dabholkar

Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo