Ranji Trophy: Ajinkya Rahane to play under Prithvi Shaw’s captaincy for Mumbai | Cricket News

MUMBAI: Even as India’s Test batsman Ajinkya Rahane is a part of the squad, Mumbai’s selectors, led by former India pacer Salil Ankola, on Tuesday stuck to opener Prithvi Shaw as the team’s captain for the 2021-22 edition of the Ranji Trophy, which will kick off on January 17.
Shaw was named as the captain of the team when the Ranji Trophy was originally supposed to kick off from January 13, before it was postponed due to a covid surge. The out-of-form Rahane, who’s played 82 Tests, 90 ODIs and 20 Twenty20Is, was India’s Test vice-captain till the recent tour of South Africa. The 33-year-old has captained India in six Tests, including in Australia in 2020 when he inspired a depleted Indian team side to a famous Test series win against the hosts.
Clubbed with defending champions Saurashtra, Odisha and Goa in Group D in Ahmedabad, Mumbai will need to top their pool to ensure a safe passage to the knockouts, which will be played post the IPL. They play Saurashtra in the opener from February 17, then Goa on February 24, and then Odisha in their last league game from March 3.
“Prithvi is just 22. We’re looking at the future. We’re looking at building the side. There are a couple of players, Musheer Khan for example, who’ve done really well for the Mumbai Under-19 team, but have missed out on selection. We’re looking forward to him also coming into the side. They are fantastic players. We’ve got a good bench strength. Our Under-19 boys have done really well,” Ankola told TOI.
The Mumbai chief selector backed Rahane, currently out of form and in danger of being dropped for the forthcoming Test series against Sri Lanka, to bounce back in the Ranji Trophy. “Captaincy doesn’t really matter to Ajinkya. He’s one player who’ll give his 200% for Mumbai. For someone who’s played 82 Tests, I definitely expect him to bounce back and help Mumbai win games. Watch the fun!,” Ankola said.
“It’s a good squad. We’ve to look at the future. It’s a pity that we couldn’t pick a couple of more players, who were in my mind, but we can only pick 21. Let’s hope for the best now,” said the 53-year-old. “(Pacer) Tushar Deshpande missed out due to injuries. We want him fully fit. Let him recuperate,” he said.
The Ranji Trophy was originally scheduled to kick off from January 13 but had to be postponed due to a surge in covid cases, will kick off on February 17. The team, which has been training at the Wankhede Stadium, and played a practice game there on Tuesday, for the past week, will arrive in Ahmedabad and quarantine there from February 10.
The squad: Prithvi Shaw (Captain), Ajinkya Rahane, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Aakarshit Gomel, Arman Jaffer, Sarfaraz Khan, Sachin Yadav, Aditya Tare (wk), Hardik Tamore (wk), Shivam Dube, Aman Khan, Shams Mulani, Tanush Kotian, Prashant Solanki, Shashank Attarde, Dhaval Kulkarni, Mohit Awasthi, Prince Badiani, Siddharth Raut, Roystan Dias, Arjun Tendulkar

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