Harbhajan to lead Punjab on return
Harbhajan Singh will lead Punjab in the Group A match against Tamil Nadu in Nagpur in his first Ranji Trophy game of the season; the offspinner will be returning to the squad after a long personal break. Harbhajan will take over as captain from Yuvraj Singh, who will miss the matches against Tamil Nadu and Gujarat (starts from November 29) due to his wedding. Punjab are currently fourth in Group A with 16 points. Yuvraj is among the top five run-scorers this season with 672 runs, including a career-best 260 against Baroda, in five matches at an average of 84. "I am [still motivated]," Yuvraj told The Telegraph. "I got a career-best 260 just weeks ago. I'm not through with the game."
Gambhir set to lead Delhi
Having been released from the India squad, Gautam Gambhir is set to lead Delhi in their Ranji Trophy fixture against Rajasthan in Wayanad. Fast bowler Ishant Sharma was named the 16th member of the squad, although he is likely to stay with the national team as cover. Shikhar Dhawan, however, is a certain starter in the Delhi XI, having recovered from a thumb injury he sustained in the only Test he played against New Zealand, in Kolkata. Dhawan will be keen to prove his fitness in domestic cricket, in line with national coach Anil Kumble's policy, and press his case for the hotly-contested opening spots.
Mishra boost for Haryana
Legspinner Amit Mishra is set to turn out for Haryana in their Group C fixture against Goa in Ghaziabad after being released from the Test squad. Mishra picked three wickets in the first Test against England and his economy rate was over four runs per over in both innings. He was dropped for the second Test in Vishakhapatnam, and instead his Haryana team-mate Jayant Yadav was handed a debut. The match against Goa will be Mishra's first Ranji game since February 2015. Haryana are currently placed second, behind Andhra, in Group C with 19 points from six matches.
Vinay targets India return
Karnataka captain Vinay Kumar, who went past 400 first-class wickets with a nine-wicket haul in Karnataka's 393-run win over Rajasthan, has now set his sights on a return to the national side. Vinay has made 41 appearances for India, with the last one in an ODI against Australia in Bangalore three years ago. "I am not going to be satisfied with this [400 first-class wickets] as my main goal is to make a comeback to Indian team," Vinay told Wisden India. " I am feeling much better even though I am 32. Age is just a number. I will keep working on my batting and bowling and try to keep myself fit. I am never going to give up."
Krishna, Mathias included in Karnataka squad
Seamers David Mathias and Prasidh Krishna have been called-up to the Karnataka squad for their Group B clash against Orissa in Delhi, with Abhimanyu Mithun still recuperating from injury. Mathias played two Ranji Trophy games last season, while Krishna is yet to make his debut in the tournament. Left-arm spinner Abrar Kazi, meanwhile, replaced J Suchith in a like-for-like swap. Karnataka are currently on top of the Group B table with 29 points.
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