Ranji Trophy 2013-14 January 3, 2014

Zaheer, Nayar return to boost Mumbai


Mumbai will be boosted by the return of Zaheer Khan and Abhishek Nayar for their Ranji Trophy quarter-final against Maharashtra at the Wankhede Stadium from January 8 to 12.

Zaheer, who led the team for the first four Group A games, was recalled to India's Test squad in South Africa and thus missed the last four group games. Nayar had been unavailable due to a left hip injury since he replaced Zaheer as captain for the game against Jharkhand.

Wasim Jaffer, who had been in charge of the team for the last three games, will hand over the captaincy to Zaheer. In the first four games of the season, Mumbai had picked up 19 points, including three wins. However, with Zaheer, Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane unavailable due to national duty and Nayar and the seamer Dhawal Kulkarni injured, the defending champions were struggling to qualify for the knockouts.

Kulkarni, whose foot injury was detected hours after he was selected for India's ODI series against West Indies in November, will take at least a week to return to action. "He has started doing some fitness drills and we are hoping that he would be available for the next round," said Nitin Dalal, the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) joint secretary.

Despite Zaheer and Nayar's return, the team management still have a lot to ponder over their combination ahead of the Maharashtra derby. The batsman Siddhesh Lad, who had a slipped disc on the eve of Mumbai's crucial game against Gujarat in Valsad, is likely to be ruled out. Two other batsmen, Hiken Shah and D Subramanian, who had suffered hand injuries while fielding in Valsad, will miss the quarter-final.

"Hiken split his webbing and Subbu [Subramanian] has a fractured thumb, thus ruling them out for this round," Dalal said.

As a result, the squad for the quarter-final will see five changes from the one that travelled to Valsad. Manish Rao (who had replaced Lad), Balwinder Singh Sandhu, Shah, Subramanian and Pravin Tambe have made way for Zaheer, Nayar, Vinit Indulkar, Sarvesh Damle and Nikhil Patil (Jr).

Squad: Zaheer Khan (capt), Wasim Jaffer, Abhishek Nayar, Aditya Tare (wk), Kaustubh Pawar, Suryakumar Yadav, Vishal Dabholkar, Javed Khan, Shardul Thakur, Iqbal Abdulla, Sagar Kerkar, Vinit Indulkar, Nikhil Patil (Jr), Sarvesh Damle, Saurabh Netravalkar

Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Al on January 8, 2014, 0:58 GMT

    Mumbai would not have made it to quarter finals this year, if it weren't for Iqbal Abdulla's bowling in their last match against Gujarat. Iqbal single handedly defeated Gujarat.

  • Dummy4 on January 6, 2014, 15:12 GMT

    I think Pravin Tambe is done-he could not carry his performance onto ranji

  • Ashok on January 5, 2014, 14:09 GMT

    Abhishek Nayar is a fine medium pace all rounder denied of his chances for India on the current SA & NZ tours. His Ranji record during the past few years has been good & he did well when selected in the India A team compared to Binny. I hope he gets back into swing of the things as he is always contributing either with ball or with bat or both. Yadev & Abdullah are other 2 youngsters to watch. Mumbai despite of being depleted with 2 of their best batsmen is still a strong side. Maharashtra on the other hand does not have any big names except Zol, an outstanding young batsman- in the mould of Pujara. This promises to be a great match if Zol can lead Maharashtra batting. Good luck to both the teams.

  • nayeem on January 5, 2014, 10:34 GMT

    it looks like mumbai is going to win ranji

  • Dummy4 on January 4, 2014, 11:24 GMT

    Let zaheer play in ranji only. Age has caught up with him. no need to take him to New Zealand (even in test matches) we all saw how he was breaking down in the second test against SA bowling 125 kmph tundlers.

  • Dummy4 on January 4, 2014, 4:56 GMT

    Rohit & Rahane should be play in Ranji

  • Rodney on January 4, 2014, 4:24 GMT

    Vinit Indulkar is he still part of mumbai plans,God bless Mumbai.

  • Android on January 3, 2014, 22:03 GMT

    mumbai have made it to Q finals in the last few games without zak rahane sharma etc so the players who played when zak and co where away should play in the Q final. hikan shah and all the other guys who stepped in should carry on.

  • Nishad on January 3, 2014, 19:55 GMT

    Sharma and Rahane are in the ODI squad for the NZ tour, Khan is not.

  • murali on January 3, 2014, 19:19 GMT

    Where is Rohit sharma and Rahane ? Do they think playing ranji is not good?

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