After being forced to replace spinners Vishal Dabholkar and Ankush Jaiswal, Mumbai could field 19-year-old left-arm spinner Matkar against Gujarat at Wankhede Stadium
Mumbai's 19-year-old left-arm spinner Dhrumil Matkar could become the third cricketer to make his Ranji Trophy debut in three consecutive matches.
Mumbai's Dhrumil Matkar bowls in the nets during a training session at Wankhede yesterday. Pics/Bipin Kokate
Matkar has been a consistent performer for the Mumbai under-23 side this season. He claimed eight wickets in his last game against Bengal on November 7. Opening batsman Jay Bista made his debut against Railways two weeks ago while off-spinner Ankush Jaiswal played his first Ranji match against Madhya Pradesh last week.
Mumbai on top
Mumbai, with 32 points from seven matches, have already entered the quarter-finals and will play Gujarat (23 points) in the Group 'B' Ranji encounter today. Though Mumbai had to replace their top wicket-taker of the season — left-arm spinner Vishal Dabholkar (27 scalps) as well as rookie off-spinner Jaiswal due to suspect actions, Mumbai coach Chandrakant Pandit is confident his team will continue its good run.
Gujarat skipper Parthiv Patel at Wankhede yesterday
"We believe that the winning habit is paramount, so naturally we will play this game with the same passion as the earlier matches. We want to keep the momentum going," said Pandit. On missing the two spinners, Pandit said: "Players miss out every game. We have 15 players and we need to get the best out of whoever is available. We also are thinking about the future and the young players in the team."
Asked about the suspect actions of Dabholkar and Jaiswal, the Mumbai coach said: "It is not a question of why this has happened. It is just a natural thing, it happens. Fortunately, we have enough time to work on these two spinners. We have already started working on them."
Gujarat, who has won three out of seven league games are dependant on Priyank Panchal (629 runs with three centuries) and skipper Parthiv Patel (448). On the bowling front, the visitors will expect a good performance from off-spinner Rujul Bhatt (20 wickets), medium-pacer Jasprit Bumrah (19 wickets) and India's ODI left-arm spinner Axar Patel (15 wickets). Two former India bowlers in the form of pacer RP Singh and off-spinner Ramesh Powar are also part of the Gujarat camp.