Ranji Trophy: Ishant Sharma released from the Indian side; Vijay and Kuldeep might follow suit
During the toss for the first Test between India and Sri Lanka at the Eden Gardens, Indian skipper Virat Kohli revealed that the hosts are playing Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammad Shami as the three pacers while KL Rahul will open the batting with Shikhar Dhawan, ahead of a returning Murali Vijay, who has been India's best opening batsman in the longest formats over the last four years.
Now that the likes of Vijay, Ishant Sharma, Kuldeep Yadav and Rohit Sharma were omitted from the playing XI, the players could be released from the Indian team to take part in the sixth round of Ranji Trophy.
Over the last few years, the Indian team management has been following a policy of sending back players for first-class cricket who are not a part of playing XI to keep them match fit. As per the policy, it has been confirmed that Ishant Sharma has been released from the Indian side and will be a part of Delhi's must-win match against Maharashtra.
"Ishant will be reaching Delhi by evening and he will be leading the side. Rishabh Pant will be his deputy. We have got confirmation," Delhi's team manager said.
Delhi, who are placed second in group A, have 17 points from four games and are well in contention to grab one of the top two spots in the group. A win against Maharashtra will seal their place in the quarter-finals.
The same could be the fate for the other three players (barring Rohit Sharma as he will be with the Indian team as the 12th man) as they are expected to join their respective Ranji Trophy teams for the sixth-round matches.
When asked about Murali Vijay's availability for Tamil Nadu's must-win match against Madhya Pradesh at the Holkar stadium in Indore, a source close to the team said that there is no such information about the right-hander joining the squad and it will be confirmed later tonight or the morning of the match.
"We are yet to receive any information (about Vijay's availability) yet. We still have time for the match. We will see what happens in the next few hours," the source told Sportskeeda.
On Kuldeep's availability for the Uttar Pradesh-Karnataka match, the Uttar Pradesh team manager Mohammad Talib said that there was no update about Kuldeep's inclusion in the side yet.
When Sportskeeda contacted him, he said, "Kuldeep hasn't been named in the 15-member squad, but there might be a change tomorrow morning."
TN are currently fourth in Group C with eight points and have to win their next two matches to qualify for the quarters and the presence of Vijay in the playing XI will be a big boost for the Abhinav Mukund-led side.
Uttar Pradesh, on the other hand, are out of the Ranji Trophy as they have just four points in five matches going into their last league game against Karnataka.