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Maharashtra deny Karnataka Pandey's replacement

Karnataka face the prospect of playing with 10 batsmen after Manish Pandey was called up to the India Test team PTI

Maharashtra have turned down Karnataka's request for a replacement player after Manish Pandey was pulled out of their ongoing Ranji Trophy fixture in Mohali. Pandey was drafted into the India squad after Ajinkya Rahane was ruled out of the fourth and fifth Tests against England with a finger injury.

Faced with the prospect of playing with only ten batsmen, Karnataka requested Pranab Roy, the match referee, for a replacement. According to The Hindu, Roy, after consultations with MV Sridhar, BCCI's general manager (cricket operations), sought Maharashtra captain Swapnil Gugale's consent to allow a replacement for Pandey. Gugale, however, denied the request.

"The match referee had asked for a substitute and we said no. That's it," Gugale told ESPNcricinfo. "The game is a little crucial for us and you never know what can happen tomorrow."

Roy said the match officials went by the rules. "[The] rules are clear that a replacement can be allowed subject to the consent of the captain of the opposing team," he told The Hindu. "But when fielding in the second innings, Karnataka will be allowed a substitute fielder." Roy also confirmed that should Pandey not play in the Mumbai Test and if the team management releases him, he could return for the match.

Karnataka already have an injury concern, with Abhimanyu Mithun leaving the field after bowling only two deliveries on the opening day. They had a good day, however, as they dismissed Maharashtra for 163 after sending them in. Karnataka began their reply in solid fashion, and went to stumps on 67 for 1.

Karnataka, along with Jharkhand, have already qualified for the knockouts from Group B, while Maharashtra are in a three-way battle with Delhi and Odisha for the final qualification spot.