No Ashwin, Vijay for Tamil Nadu
Rain affected Tamil Nadu's prospects in the first round when they were at full-strength. They'll have to do without R Ashwin, M Vijay and Vijay Shankar for their second-round match against Hyderabad in Tirunelveli. While both Vijay and Shankar will be travelling with the India A squad to New Zealand, Ashwin will be preparing for the Test series against Australia.
K Vignesh, CV Varun and Shahrukh Khan have been named in the squad to replace the missing trio.
Saha sets tentative comeback date
Wriddhiman Saha, who has been battling injury issues since the start of the year, has set a tentative return date. "I am feeling much better now. I hope to be back in action by mid-December. I am preparing and training accordingly. Hope my body recovers in time and I'm fit to play (Ranji Trophy). I've started net sessions but I am yet to get match-fit," Saha said at an event in Kolkata.
While Saha may have missed the bus for the Test series against Australia, he could still play a significant role for Bengal if his return goes as per schedule.
Jadhav to turn out for Maharashtra
Kedar Jadhav will turn out for Maharashtra in their match against Baroda at the Moti Bagh Stadium in Vadodara. He hasn't represented Maharashtra since December 2016 due to national commitments and injury issues.
It is worth remembering that Jadhav first came into the national reckoning due to a blockbuster Ranji season, when his 1224 runs in 2013-14 took Maharashtra from Group C all the way to the final. The last time he played for his state though, Jadhav was only a batsman. He's now become someone who can chip in with a few overs of spin too. Playing a four-day match while batting and bowling, and crucially coming through unscathed and without injury, will perhaps be an important step in Jadhav proving his fitness.
CM Gautam dropped
The Karnataka side that is taking on defending champions Vidarbha in Nagpur will be without a familiar face. CM Gautam, veteran of 94 first-class matches, is not part of the team. Gautam had a middling 2017-18 season, scoring 285 runs in eight games at 31.66 average. The squad is only for the first game, so there is still a chance for him to come back.
Gambhir steps down as Delhi captain
Nitish Rana has been named Delhi captain for the 2018-19 Ranji Trophy, after Gautam Gambhir, who led them in the 50-over Vijay Hazare Trophy, stepped down from the role a week before the start of the season. Rana will begin his captaincy stint on November 12, when Delhi kick off their season against Himachal Pradesh, in a match that will also feature Ishant Sharma, who is returning from rehab for ankle complaints suffered since the Oval Test against England.
Gambhir, who led Delhi to the Hazare final last month, made the announcement via Twitter. "Time to pass the captaincy baton to youngsters, hence have requested the DDCA selectors not to consider me for that role," he wrote. "I will be in the background helping the new leader to win games."
At the start of this season, Gambhir had been asked by the Delhi selectors to lead the team in the limited-overs tournaments in the absence of Rishabh Pant and Ishant Sharma, who had both led the side in last year's Ranji Trophy. But when offered the opportunity to continue in the role for this season, Gambhir told the selectors that it would be good to groom a young leader.
"Gautam has intimated the state team's chief selector Amit Bhandari that he would like to opt out of captaincy," Delhi and Districts Cricket Association (DDCA) president Rajat Sharma told PTI. "He suggested that someone younger be groomed for the job. Nitish Rana will lead the side and Dhruv Shorey will be his deputy."
Earlier this year, the 37-year-old Gambhir had also stepped down as Delhi Daredevils' captain during the IPL season, after the franchise managed only one win in their first six games.
Rana, the new state team captain, was the second-highest scorer for Delhi, behind Gambhir, in the 2017-18 Ranji Trophy, with 613 runs in 12 innings at an average of 55.72. Shorey, Rana's deputy, also had a productive tournament, scoring 593 runs in 12 innings, including a hundred in the final.
Delhi squad: Nitish Rana (capt), Dhruv Shorey (vice-capt), Gautam Gambhir, Hitel Dalal, Himmat Singh, Anuj Rawat, Ishant Sharma, Kulwant Khejroliya, Vikas Mishra, Lalit Yadav, Simarjit Singh, Vaibhav Rawal, Varun Sood, Sarthak Rajan, Shivank Vashisth