Sarfaraz Khan picked for Mumbai-Bengal Ranji Trophy clash

Mumbai selectors draft India U-19 batsman in team; experienced Hiken Shah axed along with five others

Mumbai's senior selection panel has made six changes for the next Ranji Trophy encounter against Bengal (December 28-31) in Kolkata despite Mumbai registering their first win of the season against Uttar Pradesh at Kanpur on Wednesday.

Sarfaraz Khan. Inset: Hiken Shah
Sarfaraz Khan who has been selected to represent Mumbai in their next Ranji Trophy against Bengal later this month. Inset: Hiken Shah.

While they roped in youngsters like Sarfaraz Khan, Sufiyan Shaikh, Srideep Mangela and recalled Siddhesh Lad, Akhil Herwadkar and Iqbal Abdullah, the Sandeep Patil-led selection panel dropped Hiken Shah, Bravish Shetty, Praful Waghela, Sushant Marathe, Vishal Dabholkar and Kevin Almeida.

The dropping of Shetty and Marathe should not come as surprise after their poor showing, but Shah’s axing is debatable.

Shah, who was ignored for the opening encounter against Jammu & Kashmir which Mumbai lost by four wickets, was recalled for the next two matches to provide some stability in the batting department after senior-most batter Wasim Jaffer fractured his finger. He scored 46 in two matches and was amongst the few Mumbai batsmen who showed the temperament to stay on the wicket when others flopped. Mumbai, who is woefully short on the experience front, Shah, with 37 first-class matches, would have come in handy in tough situations.

The inclusion of Sarfaraz, who is enjoying a fine run with the Mumbai U-23 team, and Lad is expected to stabilise Mumbai’s batting department. Mumbai pacer Shardul Thakur will once again spearhead the attack in the absence of Dhawal Kulkarni, who was rushed to Australia as a cover-up for Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

Thakur, who starred with bat and ball in the match against UP, will expect support from Wilkin Mota and Kshemal Waingankar from the other end.

Manjrekar on Mumbai
Meanwhile, at a function at Matunga Gymkhana where past players of Dadar Union and Shivaji Park came together yesterday, Sanjay Manjrekar recalled how Sunil Gavaskar was a role model and he always wanted to play for the same club as his role model. Hence, he chose Dadar Union.

“The greatest inspiration for a young player is a role model. No amount of academies can replace that. That is what is lacking in Mumbai cricket — they don’t have a role model to emulate right next to them,” said Manjrekar.

Mumbai Squad: Suryakumar Yadav (Captain), Abhishek Nayar, Aditya Tare, Shrideep Mangela, Siddhesh Lad, Akhil Herwadkar, Shreyas Iyer, Sufiyan Shaikh, Sarfaraz Khan, Iqbal Abdullah, Akshay Girap, Shardul Thakur, Wilkin Mota, Badre Alam, Kshemal Waingankar.

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