The Indian domestic season is in full flow. After the culmination of white-ball tournaments like Vijay Hazare Trophy and Syed Mushtaq Ali T20.Trophy, the focus has now shifted to the premier first-class competition- Ranji Trophy.
The tournament which kicks off from December 09 has already seen a few teams announce their respective squads for the marquee event. The latest to join the bandwagon are the runners-up of the last season- Saurashtra. Saurashtra, who lost the final to Vidarbha last season, have named a 16-member squad for their opening two fixtured of the First-Class competition.
The senior selection committee announced the squad on Wednesday which will be led by left-arm seamer Jaydev Undadkat. Indian No.3 batsman Cheteshwar Pujara has also been named in the set-up for the opening two fixtures.
With the Indian team currently in white-ball mode and not scheduled to play a Test match until February, the Ranji Trophy will be a great opportunity for Pujara to keep himself in the groove as well as match-fit, much like the case with Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane, who was selected in the Mumbai squad for the first two fixtures.
Last years’ runners-up Saurashtra will hope to emulate past performances
Saurashtra will hope that the likes of Sheldon Jackson (854 runs at 47.4), Snell Patel (760 runs at 36.19) and Harvik Desai (781 runs at 37.19) continue with their 2018 form in the upcoming season and once again emerge as the bedrock or their state sides’ batting unit.
As far as the bowling is concerned, the usual prospects in Dharmendrasinh Jadeja, Kamlesh Makvana, Chetan Sakariya, will once again be the key to Saurashtra’s fortunes. While Jadeja emerged as the sides’ leading wicket-taker with 59 wickets in 11 games at an average of 27.16, Unadkat (39 wickets in nine games at 17), Chetan Sakaria (29 wickets in 8 games at 28.2) and Kamlesh Makvana (22 wickets at 31.68) served as an ideal foil.
Saurashtra will kickstart their 2019 campaign against Himachal Pradesh in Dharamshala.
Saurashtra squad for the first two Ranji Trophy games:
Jaydev Unadkat (Captain), Cheteshwar Pujara, Sheldon Jackson, Arpit Vasavada, Dharmendrasinh Jadeja, Kamlesh Makwana, Snell Patel, Chirag Jani, Harvik Desai, Prerak Mankad, Avi Barot, Vishvaraj Jadeja, Kushang Patel, Chetan Sakariya, Divyaraj Chauhan and Jay Chauhan.
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