After the razmataz of slam-bang domestic tournaments, it is now time for First-Class cricket to take precedence as the premier domestic tournament Ranji Trophy takes centerstage from December 09. And, with the two-month-long tournament scheduled to start from 9th December, the state associations have started announcing their respective squads.
Joining the bandwagon, the Maharashtra Cricket Association, have announced their squad for the upcoming event where they have named Naushad Shaikh as their captain. Shaikh’s appointment as captain comes at a time when Maharashtra are trying to revive their fortunes after having suffered the ignominy of the relegation of Group C following dismal 2018-19 season.
The Cricket Association secretary Riyaz Bagwan confirmed the same after the newly appointed selection panel- headed by former Indian batsman Abhijeet Kale- announced the squad for the season opener against Haryana in Rohtak from December 09.
“After the squad was relegated last year, we thought we should bring in new ideas and a change at the top. Naushad stands out because he is a consistent performer with the bat anyway but he is thinking cricketer and is an excellent man-manager, so hopefully it will work for the team,” Kale told Sportstar from Pune.
Naushad Shaikh confident that the presence of seniors will help him
Maharashtra boasts of an experienced squad and with the presence of three former captains and Indian International Kedar Jadhav in the squad, Shaikh’s mismanagement skills will put under immense test as he hopes to lead his team out of the current rut. However, Naushad, who admitted that the decision came as a surprise, was confident that the presence of seniors will help him immensely.
“It came as a surprise but I am thrilled and honoured with the responsibility. With so many seniors in the squad, we hope to start well and bounce back this year.” Naushad told Sporstar.
Apart from Shaikh, the onus of leading the batting unit will be on vice-captain Rururaj Gaikwad, Ankeet Bawne and Rahul Tripathi while the bowling unit has proven performers in Samad Fallah and Satyajeet Bachhav.
Naushad Shaikh (C), Ruturaj Gaikwad (VC), Swapnil Gugale, Chirag Khurana, Rahul Tripathi, Ankeet Bawane, Azeem Kazi, Vishant More (wk), Satyajeet Bachhav, Samad Fallah, Anupam Sanklecha, Digvijay Deshmukh, Pradeep Dadhe, Mukesh Choudhary, Jagdish Zope.
Coach: Surendra Bhave; Assistant coach: Ashish Suryawanshi; Physiotherapist: Sandeep Gaikwad, Trainer: Shekhar Gawli; Manager: Mohamed Poonawala.
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