Amol Muzumdar, once rated among the best batsmen in the country by pundits in Mumbai, has been dropped from the squad that will take on Rest of India for the Zal Irani Trophy in Chennai later this month. Sachin Tendulkar returns to the Mumbai squad as captain and Sairaj Bahutule has been named vice-captain. Vinod Kambli, just back from a reasonably successful stint at Boland, also makes a comeback.

Muzumdar's omission is hardly unexpected, given that he scored a mere 173 runs from 10 innings in the last season. Youngsters like Bhavin Thakkar and Vineet Indulkar have grown from strength to strength in that time.

Dilip Vengsarkar, the chairman of selectors, told that this was not the end of the road for Muzumdar. He was quoted as saying: "Amol is very much part of our plans. He is among the probables and could use the Times Shield to get back among the runs."

The pace department is led by Ajit Agarkar, backed up by Aavishkar Salvi, who recently made his debut for India in a one-day international. Swapnil Hazare, the under-19 medium-pacer and Robin Morris, the seambowling allrounder are expected to chip in.

Apart from Bahutule, Tendulkar can also turn to Nilesh Kulkarni if he wants spin.

The Rest of India team is widely expected to be a strong one, and a keen contest is in the offing.

Mumbai squad Sachin Tendulkar (capt), Sairaj Bahutule (vice-capt), Wasim Jaffer, Vinayak Mane, Nishit Shetty, Vinod Kambli, Nilesh Kulkarni, , Bhavin Thakkar, Ramesh Powar, Vinayak Samant (wk), Robin Morris, Vineet Indulkar, Ajit Agarkar, Swapnil Hazare, Avishkar Salvi.