Mumbai begin as firm favourites

Hyderabad, Nov 23 : An all new Hyderabad team will take on the formidable Mumbai squad in a crucial Ranji Trophy Group 'A' match beginning at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium here tomorrow.

Although belated, the HCA selectors have taken a huge gamble by effecting three major changes from the squad that managed a draw against Saurashtra in their previous outing, also at home. If the host's, with a mere two points from three matches, nurture hopes of salvaging pride with the revamped team then it is quite possible that they would go all out for a win considering that with relatively inexperienced blood they have nothing to lose and everything to gain from the encounter.

Skipper D B Ravi Teja, seasoned campaigner T Arjun Yadav and world record holding wicket-keeper Ibrahim Khaleel may not have imagined even in their wildest of dreams that they would be out of contention. Effectively the team would be without the services of five of its leading players, including V V S Laxman and Pragyan Ojha. More than naming opener P Akshath Reddy as the captain and southpaw B Sandeep as his deputy, the selectors have done well by giving weightage to merit and contemporary form, particularly in the context of giving the colts their due. Apparently, this augurs well as a sound future investment.

Meanwhile, Mumbai, with two straight wins from as many outings this season, will be led by middle order batsman Rohit Sharma. Regular skipper Ajit Agarkar is out of the game because of an injury. However, they will be on a strong wicket because its frontline batsmen are in terrific form. Abhishek Nayar scored a century in each innings last time round while Ajinkya Rahane slammed a century in the only match he has played. Compared to the Hyderabad bowling attack, which has failed to dismiss their earlier opponents twice in any of the matches, Mumbai bowlers are on song. Mumbai begin the firm favourites.

Teams-Mumbai: Rohit Sharma (Captain), Ramesh Powar, Aditya Tare, Suryakumar Yadav, Avishkar Salvi, Kaustubh Pawar, Abhishek Nayar, Praful Waghela, Hiken Shah, Iqbal Abdullah, Kshemal Waingankar, Shardul Thakur, Ankit Chavan, Shoaib Shaikh and Javed Khan; Coach: Sulakshan Kulkarni. Hyderabad: P Akshath Reddy (Capt), K Sumanth (WK), G.H. Vihari, B. Sandeep (Vice-Capt), Ahmed Quadri, Aashish Reddy, Akash Bhandari, Kanishkk Naidu, Anwar Khan, Ravi Kiran, Vishal Sharma, Abhinav Kumar, A Lalith Mohan, M A Khader and Neeraj Bist; Coach: Sushil K Joshi. Match starts at 0930 hrs.

- Agencies

Published On : Nov 23, 2012

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