Matches (19)
IPL (3)
Women's Tri-Series (1)
County DIV1 (5)
County DIV2 (4)
ACC Premier Cup (6)
News

Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara picked in Ranji Trophy squads; Hardik Pandya opts out

Both batters under scrutiny for lack of big scores in Tests of late; Pandya backs out to focus on comeback in white-ball cricket

Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane will face each other in the league stage of Ranji Trophy  •  AFP/Getty Images

Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane will face each other in the league stage of Ranji Trophy  •  AFP/Getty Images

The experienced duo of Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane are set to feature in the upcoming Ranji Trophy after being under the scanner in Test cricket for the last couple of years. Pujara was named in Saurashtra's squad, to be led by Jaydev Unadkat, and Rahane in Mumbai's squad to be led by Prithvi Shaw.
Pujara and Rahane have been under scrutiny because of lack of big scores of late. Rahane last scored a century in December 2020, against Australia in Melbourne, whereas Pujara last reached triple-figures against the same opposition, but over three years ago in Sydney.
Since then, Rahane has averaged only 20.25 to score 547 runs in 27 innings, with three half-centuries and a high score of 67. In this period, his average has dipped from over 43 to under 39. Rahane last played the Ranji Trophy in 2019-20 when Mumbai won only one of their eight league games and failed to make the knockouts.
Pujara's fall hasn't been as steep, but his recent scores, including ducks in consecutive Tests against England and South Africa, didn't help his case much. Since his last century, Pujara has averaged 27.38, while scoring 1287 runs in 48 innings with a high score of 91 against England. His career average, in this period, has fallen from nearly 47 to 44.25. Pujara last played the Ranji Trophy in the 2019-20 final when his patient and gritty 66 helped Saurashtra win the game on account of taking a first-innings lead against Bengal to win the title.
Saurashtra and Mumbai are placed together in Group D, along with Odisha and Goa, and will play their league matches in Ahmedabad.
The selectors will have an eye on both batters getting back to domestic cricket ahead of India's next Test series, against Sri Lanka starting February 25. The Ranji Trophy is set to start on February 16.
The Ranji Trophy was not played last season because of the Covid-19 pandemic and will be held in two phases this time, before and after the IPL. It was originally scheduled to begin on January 13 but was postponed because of the third wave of infections across the country.
Hardik Pandya to skip Ranji Trophy
India and Baroda allrounder Hardik Pandya has decided to skip the upcoming Ranji Trophy in order to focus on his comeback in white-ball cricket. Baroda announced a 20-member squad to be led by Kedar Devdhar, with Pandya backing out so that he can continue rehabilitation for a long-standing back injury.
A centrally contracted player, Pandya hasn't been involved in any cricket since the 2021 T20 World Cup. He wasn't part of last year's Syed Mushtaq Ali T20s or the Vijay Hazare 50-overs competition, and his last red-ball game dates back to December 2018. Pandya is expected to return for the IPL though, where he is set to lead the new Ahmedabad franchise. Hardik's brother Krunal Pandya remains a part of Baroda's Ranji Trophy squad.
Mumbai squad: Prithvi Shaw (capt), Ajinkya Rahane, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Aakarshit Gomel, Arman Jaffer, Sarfaraz Khan, Sachin Yadav, Aditya Tare (wk), Hardik Tamore (wk), Shivam Dube, Aman Khan, Shams Mulani, Tanush Kotian, Prashant Solanki, Shashank Attarde, Dhaval Kulkarni, Mohit Awasthi, Prince Badiani, Siddharth Raut, Roystan Dias, Arjun Tendulkar
Saurashtra squad: Jaydev Unadkat (capt), Cheteshwar Pujara, Sheldon Jackson, Arpit Vasavada, Chirag Jani, Kamlesh Makwana, Dharmendrasinh Jadeja, Chetan Sakariya, Prerak Mankad, Vishvarajsinh Jadeja, Harvik Desai, Kevin Jivrajani, Kushang Patel, Jay Chauhan, Samarth Vyas, Parthkumar Bhut, Yuvrajsinh Chudasama, Devang Karamta, Snell Patel, Kishan Parmar and Aditya Jadeja
Baroda Squad: Kedar Dhevdhar (capt), Vishnu Solanki (vice-capt), Pratyush Kumar, Shivalik Sharma, Krunal Pandya, Abhimanyusingh Rajput, Dhruv Patel, Mitesh Patel, Lukman Meriwala, Babasafikhan Pathan (wk), Atit Sheth, Bhargav Bhatt, Parth Kohli, Shashwat Rawat, Soyeb Sopariya, Kartik Kakade, Gurjindersingh Mann, Jyotsnil Singh, Ninad Rathwa, Akshay More