Ten new faces in Maharashtra squad
Maharashtra's squad for their first Ranji Trophy match, against Tamil Nadu, features 10 uncapped players and a new captain, Venugopal Rao, who played for Andhra during the 2006-07 season. They find themselves in this predicament partly because of the exodus to the Indian Cricket League (ICL) and partly because Sairaj Bahutule and Hrishikesh Kanitkar are not match-fit. The team and the captain, according to Pandurang Salgaonkar, the chairman of selectors, are chosen only for one match.
Bahutule, their captain last season, had to undergo shoulder surgery while Kanitkar had an operation on the knee. The Maharashtra selectors were not sure of their match fitness and they will make further decisions only after the first match.
Maharashtra have been following the policy of blooding homegrown youngsters, along with senior professional imports over the last two-three years. Rao, who has played 16 ODIs for India, will be expected to bolster the inexperienced batting line-up. The bowling attack will be led by Munaf Patel and Shrikant Mundhe, who played for India Red in the recently concluded Challenger Trophy. Yogesh Takawale, who played as a batsman last season and scored 351 runs at 50.14, will replace Satyajit Satbhai's as wicketkeeper.
They will be coached by Chandrakant Pandit, fresh from a successful stint as India A coach on their tour to Zimbabwe and Kenya.
Squad: Venugopal Rao (capt), Munaf Patel, Dhruv Mohan, Yogesh Takawale (wk), Harshad Khadiwale, Salil Agarkar, Kedar Jadhav, Shrikant Mundhe, Digamber Waghmare, Swapnil Gugale, Ashish Suryavanshi, Vishant More, Samad Fallah, Vishal Bhilare, Sayyed Wahid