M Vijay, Vijay Shankar return to TN squad
Tamil Nadu will be strengthened by the return of M Vijay and Vijay Shankar for their third-round game against Mumbai at the Bandra-Kurla Complex. Vijay, who missed Tamil Nadu's previous game against Tripura with a stiff neck, will slot in at the opening position alongside captain Abhinav Mukund, while Shankar is expected to replace J Kousik in the eleven. Baba Aparajith also returns to the side after being part of the India A team that played New Zealand A recently.
Vijay had played Tamil Nadu's season-opener against Andhra and scored 4 and 55. He also had a brief injury scare when he retired hurt in the second innings after spraining his ankle. Vijay, however, returned to bat on the last day, and brought up his first fifty-plus score in first-class cricket since his 82 against Australia in March. Shankar is coming off a good run of form, having scored an unbeaten 47 and a 33-ball 61 against New Zealand A in the third and the fourth ODI respectively.
Aparajith, too, has been in among the runs lately. He began the season with a fifty and a century against Andhra before going away to play the fourth and fifth one-dayers against New Zealand.
Venugopal Rao opts out of remainder of Ranji season
Veteran batsman Venugopal Rao has opted out of the rest of the season for Andhra citing personal reasons. Rao made 3 in the only game he played against Tamil Nadu. Andhra Cricket Association general secretary Ch. Arun Kumar has said the team would miss his services.
"The absence of Mr .Y.Venugopala Rao will be felt by the team, but we have to respect the feelings of the player who was former captain of Andhra Ranji Team and India International," he said.
The selection committee, chaired by V Satya Prasad, has named batsman N Jyothi Sai Krishna as replacement for Rao for the remainder of the games.
Rahul, Nair added to Karnataka squad
KL Rahul and Karun Nair have been named in Karnataka's squad for the third round of Ranji Trophy matches beginning October 24, against Hyderabad in Shimoga. Both of them were part of the Board President's XI squad for the two warm-up fixtures against New Zealand that were played on October 17 and 19.
Rahul, who has been left out of the New Zealand ODIs, struck a 68 in the first warm-up game in Mumbai on Tuesday. Nair, who led India A in the two unofficial Tests against New Zealand A made 78 and 53 in the two games. "Having Rahul and Karun is a big boost for Karnataka," R Vinay Kumar, the Karnataka captain, said. "Rahul has cemented his place in the Indian team while Karun is also doing well. The sight of their names on the team sheet will put opponents under pressure."
Umesh, Karn bolster Vidarbha
Fast bowler Umesh Yadav, who was left out from India's squad for the ongoing ODI series against New Zealand, and legspinner Karn Sharma, who moved from Railways, are set to play for Vidarbha in their second match of the season against Chhattisgarh in Nagpur.
Umesh last represented Vidarbha in the quarterfinals last season when his side was toppled by Saurashtra. Karn's recent form bodes well for Vidarbha: since the start of the Duleep Trophy, he has bagged 31 wickets in four first-class matches, including three five-wicket hauls.
Vidarbha had opened their Ranji campaign by securing an innings victory over Punjab last week.