Mukund, Gowtham to miss remainder of Duleep Trophy
What’s the story?
India Red have been hit by a double blow as two players, captain Abhinav Mukund and Karnataka all-rounder K Gowtham, have been ruled out of the ongoing Duleep Trophy. On Tuesday, stand-in skipper Dinesh Karthik confirmed that neither will take any further part in the tournament.
While Gowtham was replaced by Mumbai's left-arm spinner Vijay Gohil for the remainder of the tournament, Akhil Herwadkar, Mumbai’s left-handed opener, was named as Mukund’s replacement.
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Mukund had to sit out of the opening match of the Duleep Trophy in Lucknow due to dengue, but Gowtham was in the playing XI. However, the all-rounder fell ill on the penultimate day of the match and could not take the field on Day 4.
India Red did go on to win the match by 170 runs, however, as Priyank Panchal scored two centuries in the match.
Gowtham was the star with the ball in the first innings, picking up a fifer that included the wickets of Karun Nair and Parthiv Patel. Karn Sharma also impressed with his leg spin, picking up 10 wickets.
The heart of the matter
In the absence of Abhinav Mukund, Karthik will continue in his role as the captain of India Red for the remainder of the Duleep Trophy.
Although Gowtham has been ruled out from taking further part in the tournament, he looks to have recovered from his illness. He was a part of the playing XI for Karnataka Premier League side Belagavi Panthers in the match against Bellary Tuskers on Tuesday.
Gowtham is also part of the India A side for the series against New Zealand A. The final of the Duleep Trophy coincides with the first of the two four-day matches of the series.
Apart from Gowtham, as many as ten players - Priyank Panchal, Sudip Chatterjee, R Samarth, Karun Nair, Ankit Bawne, Rishabh Pant, Navdeep Saini, Shahbaz Nadeem, Mohammed Siraj and Ankit Rajpoot - are incuded in both the Duleep Trophy and India A squads.
Meanwhile, Ishant Sharma has been replaced by Chhattisgarh pacer Pankaj Rao in the India Blue squad. Tamil Nadu batsman Kaushik Gandhi has been moved from India Blue to India Green.
The second match of the tournament between India Red and India Blue begins later today. This will be followed by the third match between India Blue and India Green next week before the final in Lucknow later this month.
It is unfortunate for Mukund and Goutham to have become ill during the course of the tournament.
Mukund has been in and out of the national squad and a string of good performances here could have caught the attention of the national selectors. Hopefully for the player, he will recover fast and come back even stronger.