With the Ranji Trophy- India’s First-Class tournament- set to kickstart from December 09 and state associations have started to announce their respective squads for the four-day competition. After the likes of Mumbai and Kerala, Punjab has also joined the bandwagon in announcing the line-up for the first two games of the season.
The Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) announced their squad for the first two fixtures and have named swashbuckling middle-order batsman Mandeep Singh as their captain for the upcoming season.
Singh will lead the 16-member-unit in the 2019-20 season. Singh’s team will open their campaign against Rajasthan, set to be staged in Jaipur on December 16. While all-rounder Gurkeerat Singh Mann has been named as the vice-captain, the squad boasts of a great amalgamation of youth and experiences with the likes of Shubman Gill, Anmolpreet Singh, Sanvir Singh, Mayank Markande, Mandeep Singh, Gurkeerat Singh Mann and pacers like Siddarth Kaul and Baltej Singh.
“The team has several youngsters in it. All of them are very talented. They have performed at the big stage and are important to our plans this season.” said Mandeep as quoted by Times of India.
‘This is going to be our season’- PCA secretary Puneet Bali
Meanwhile, PCA secretary Puneet Bali seemed hopeful that Punjab will be able to shrug off the disappointment of the past two seasons and build on their recent white-ball performances.
“The last couple of seasons haven’t been fruitful for us. This season we are looking better our performances and youngsters like Shubman, Anmolpreet, Mayank Markande, Sanvir Singh would be crucial to our chances,” Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) secretary Puneet Bali said.
“We have reached the knock out stages in both Syed Mushtaq Ali and Vijay Hazare and hopefully we will do good in the Ranji Trophy. We have got a couple of exciting youngsters like 18-year-old pacer Ashwani Kumar and off-spinner Akul Pratap Pandove. This is going to be our season,” he added.
Pace spearhead Sandeep Sharma has not been able to find a place in the time, while left-arm pacer Arshdeep Singh has also missed out due to injury. However, Puneet Bali clarified that Sharma’s exclusion for the first two games is part of his workload management after having bowled so many overs in the white-ball tournaments.
“Sandeep is not being dropped. He has been rested for the first two matches because he has played the entire Syed Mushtaq Ali and Vijay Hazare and has bowled so many overs,” said Bali.
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