A fit-again Wriddhiman Saha was named in the Rest of India squad, led by Cheteshwar Pujara, that will take on first-time Ranji Trophy champions Gujarat in the Irani Cup to be held in Mumbai from January 20-24. Parthiv Patel-led Gujarat beat Mumbai in the Ranji final on Saturday.
Cheteshwar Pujara will lead the 15-man squad comprising Karun Nair, who made waves with a triple hundred against England in the fifth and final Test in Chennai.
The selection of Tamil Nadu opener Abhinav Mukund, Jharkhand keeper-batsman Ishan Kishan and tournament top-wicket taker Shahbaz Nadeem (56 wickets)shows that consistent performances in the Ranji Trophy have been rewarded.
Saha will make a return following his recovery from a thigh injury he suffered in the second Test against England at Visakhapatnam in November.
It will also be a contest of sorts between him and opposition captain Parthiv Patel, who replaced him in the England series and did a decent job in the subsequent three Test matches. Ranji’s highest run-scorer Panchal will get to play for his state side.
Mumbai opener Akhil Herwadkar (467 runs) has been preferred to teenage sensation and teammate Prithvi Shaw, who belied his age by hitting a hundred on First Class debut and that too in a Ranji Trophy semifinal followed by 71 in the final.
Bengal captain Manoj Tiwary is back in the mix with 643 runs to show for his efforts.
Rest of India (RoI) Team:
Abhinav Mukund, Akhil Herwadkar, Cheteshwar Pujara (captain), Karun Nair, Manoj Tiwary, Wriddhiman Saha, Kuldeep Yadav, Shahbaz Nadeem, Pankaj Singh, K Vignesh, Siddarth Kaul, Shardul Thakur, Akshay Wakhare, Ishan Kishan, Prashant Chopra.