Star India pacer Jasprit Bumrah’s fitness will be tested ahead of his national come back when he turns out for Gujarat in their Ranji Trophy match against Kerala, beginning in Surat on Wednesday.
Bumrah, who has been out of action since September due to a stress fracture, was on Monday named in the India squad for the home T20s and ODIs against Sri Lanka and Australia, respectively, next month. All eyes will be on the 26-year-old in the Ranji Trophy game and among those in attendance will be chief selector MSK Prasad.
Bumrah, who has become India’s go-to bowler in all three formats, last played for India during the Test series in West Indies. In the second game in Jamaica, he became only the third Indian to take a Test hat-trick after veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh and pacer Irfan Pathan. His comeback was expected after he bowled full tilt in a training session ahead of the second ODI against the West Indies in Visakhapatnam last week.
Bumrah has taken 62 Test wickets in 12 games at 19.24 besides 103 and 51 scalps in ODIs and T20s respectively at 21.88 and 20.17. Bumrah’s state team’s pace attack will be bolstered by his presence.
Gujarat come into their second game of the tournament after comfortably beating Hyderabad in an away game. Kerala, on the other hand, will be under pressure to deliver following their defeat to Bengal at home. In their tournament-opener, Kerala had allowed Delhi to escape with a draw.
The visiting side will bank on Sanju Samson’s good form to pull it through. Samson, who is part of India’s T20 squad, scored a hundred in Kerala’s last game against Bengal.
Opportunity for Rahane, Shaw to impress as Mumbai take on Railways
Test specialist Ajinkya Rahane and Prithvi Shaw have another opportunity to impress when Mumbai take on Railways in Elite Group B game of the Ranji Trophy, which begins in Mumbai from Wednesday.
Rahane was exactly not among the runs in the lung opener against Baroda, which the 41-time domestic champions won by 309 runs.
Rahane is playing back-to-back Ranji games after a long time and it would be a good opportunity for him to get some runs under his belt, especially at his home turf, before he heads for New Zealand with the India A team.
On the other hand, Shaw, who also has been named in India A squad for the New Zealand tour, has made a strong comeback after serving an eight-month doping ban by slamming a double hundred against Baroda in the lung opener.
The talented right-handed opener would be more than keen to carry forward his good form and prove his mettle.
Even Mumbai skipper Suryakumar Yadav, another player in the India A squad travelling to New Zealand, would want to do his best against Railways. Yadav said his players were up for the challenge.
“The players and myself are positive. They are doing pretty well and the mood in the camp is positive,” said Yadav.
Railways, led by leggie Karn Sharma, are coming in to the game after suffering an innings defeat against defending champions Saurashtra. But they would want to bounce back from that reverse and give a tough challenge to Mumbai.
Sharma said his side had one bad game against Saurashtra but they won’t think about it.
“We have limited players but still we are doing well. We had one bad game (against Saurashtra), but we won’t think about that. We will focus on our game. The wicket at Wankhede is good,” said Sharma.
Mumbai are without India players Shreyas Iyer and Shivam Dube and Sharma said his side would try to take advantage of the situation. Sharma said that playing for India will always be at the back on his mind.
“(Playing for India) is at the back of my mind but not in my hands. I just need to keep performing. The selection is not in my hands,I need to perform. I want my team to win, if the team does well at the top, someone will play at the top (for India),” he said.
Meanwhile, former Rajasthan coach Pradeep Sundaram, who is the bowling coach at the MCA Academy in BKC, is helping the Mumbai squad.
Yadav said Sundaram was an asset to the team and they were happy to have him on board.
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