2017-18 Ranji Trophy: Ajinkya Rahane named in Mumbai squad for Odisha clash
The experienced Indian batsman will fill the void left by Shreyas Iyer's absence
What's the story?
Indian batsman Ajinkya Rahane has been included in Mumbai's squad for its upcoming fixture against Odisha in the 2017-18 Ranji Trophy season. Pacer Shardul Thakur will also return to strengthen the bowling attack of the 41-time champions who will square off against Odisha between November 1 and 4 in Bhubaneswar.
Both Rahane and Thakur are currently part of the Indian squad for the ongoing ODI series against New Zealand. However, they did not get to play in either of the first two matches in Mumbai and Pune. Due to the fact that they have not been included in India's squad for the upcoming T20I series against the Black Caps, the duo will instead play for Mumbai in the premier domestic tournament in the country.
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Despite not having any commitments with the national team at that time, Rahane had made himself unavailable for Mumbai's first two games in the 2017-18 Ranji Trophy season. The right-hander had gone to Seychelles for a brief holiday. Needless to say, his decision disappointed the state association's selection committee.
The heart of the matter
Having been named in India's T20I squad for the New Zealand series, Shreyas Iyer will not be available for selection for Mumbai's match against Odisha. With Rahane returning to the team and taking the 22-year-old's place, the batting lineup appears to be in experienced hands. Thakur, who had missed the first couple of matches due to commitments with the national team and the India A team, will look to form a potent pace combination with Dhawal Kulkarni.
Mumbai squad: Aditya Tare (c) (wk), Suryakumar Yadav (vc), Akhil Herwadkar, Prithvi Shaw, Jay Bista, Ajinkya Rahane, Siddhesh Lad, Abhishek Nayar, Vijay Gohil, Dhawal Kulkarni, Akash Parkar, Royston Dias, Shardul Thakur, Tushar Deshpande, Aditya Dhumal and Sufiyan Shaikh (wk)
According to reports, Rahane is likely to be available for selection for the next two matches in the Ranji Trophy. The game against Baroda, which is scheduled to begin on November 9, will also be Mumbai's 500th appearance in the prestigious domestic tournament.
Having had to remain content with a couple of draws, the game against Odisha presents a solid opportunity for Mumbai to secure their first outright victory of the 2017-18 Ranji Trophy season. Even though Shreyas's absence could be a dampener, the return of Rahane and Thakur will certainly bolster the team's chances.