The middle-order batsman is appointed the Chhattisgarh captain. The 36-year-old started his career with UP, where he spent over a decade, after which he moved to Andhra for a two-season stint.
USP: In their debut season, Kaif’s experience will be invaluable. Looking ahead, he exudes confidence of leading this talented bunch of youngsters. “I think I can play a key role in helping them find their feet in their first season. I don’t see myself only as a captain. It’s more of a mentor’s role,” he said.
His languid batting, coupled with efficient off-spin bowling had made Jalaj Saxena a certainty in the Madhya Pradesh’s Ranji squad ever since he made his debut in the 2005-06 season. Things will be different for him this time around. For the first time in over a decade, Jalaj has decided to shift base to Kerala.
USP: His all-round abilities will be an asset for an underperforming Kerala this Ranji season. More than his off-spin bowling, it’s the runs at the top of the order that Kerala need the most from the 29-year-old.
The 26-year-old, who made his debut for Mumbai nine seasons ago, has appeared in 47 first-class games for Mumbai. He says that the reason for his switch to Kerala is a sense of insecurity with regards to not having a fixed place in the playing XI.
USP: Abdulla will be an ideal foil to S. Monish. With a battery of medium pacers to boot, the Tinu Youhanan coached side will now have more variety and ammunition with Abdulla’s induction.
Amitoze Singh & Krushan Patel
Both Amitoze and Krushan have shifted to Saurashtra this Ranji season. Amitoze is a handy batting all-rounder who played for Punjab last season, while Krushan is a promising fast bowler, who has featured in a dozen first-class games for Gujarat.
USP: Without the presence of their star spinner Ravindra Jadeja, who is on national duty, the last season’s runners up have their task cut out this season, especially since all their games will be played on neutral venues. Thankfully, Amitoze — a handy medium pacer, and Krushal a prudent quick, will give ample cushion to their premier pacer — Jaydev Unadkat.
His coaching CV is mighty impressive. He was first the coach of Delhi’s Ranji squad, and then became the head coach of Rajasthan three seasons ago. Until recently, the former India all-rounder had served as the bowling coach of Afghanistan. The 53-year-old now takes over the reins as the head coach of Uttar Pradesh.
USP: He knows most of the players in the current UP squad. He can pass on his knowledge of swing bowling to the pool of bowlers the state keeps churning out. The current UPCA team has the likes of Suresh Raina, Praveen Kumar, Piyush Chawla and Kuldeep Yadav, along with several upcoming pacers who have impressed in the past.
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