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Rahane, Pujara get a lifeline through Ranji Trophy

Rahane and Pujara, the two veterans of test cricket have not scored runs. Ranji Trophy has come as a blessing in disguise for the two batters. 

By Rajeev Tyagi
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Rahane Pujara in Ranji Trophy

Rajeev Tyagi | Ground Report | Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara, the two veterans of test cricket have not scored runs. The team management has been supporting them for over a year now. With the names like Hanuma Vihari, and Shreyas Iyer waiting to replace them in the test squads, Ranji Trophy has come as a blessing in disguise for the two batters. 

Both the cricketers have been picked in their respective Ranji Trophy Squad. Rahane in Mumbai Squad will play under Prithvi Shaw’s captaincy, and Pujara in Saurashtra Squad under Jaydev Unadkat. The two batters will under immense scrutiny as they will be playing for their position in the Indian Test team. The Indian team will play Sri Lanka end of February for two test matches.

Rahane hasn’t scored a century since the famous Melbourne century against Australia in December 2020. Rahane’s decline has been steep, quite a fall actually. Since then, Rahane has averaged only 20.25 to score 547 runs in 27 innings, with three half-centuries and a high score of 67. On the other hand, Pujara, since his last century three years ago against Australia, has averaged 27.38, while scoring 1287 runs in 48 innings with a high score of 91 against England. 

BCCI President Sourav Ganguly when asked about the future of the two players said, "Yeah, they are very good players. Hopefully, they will go back to Ranji Trophy and score a lot of runs, which I am sure they will. I don’t see any problem (for them to go back to domestic cricket after playing so much international cricket). Ranji Trophy is a huge tournament, and we have all played the tournament,".

The above-mentioned statement can also be taken as the possibility that the two batters would be dropped, and earn their spot on the test team. Rahane has already been sacked from his vice-captaincy role, and after India’s defeat to the South African squad, the team definitely demand changes.

Former Indian Men’s Cricket Team’s Head Coach Ravi Shastri tweeted and raised his concern on the postponement of the prestigious domestic trophy which is the ‘backbone’ of Indian Cricket. As it turns out, the BCCI president Sourav Ganguly thinks the same, and hence the decision to conduct Ranji Trophy has come about.

BCCI Honorary Sectary Jay Shah stated that the Ranji Trophy would be held in two phases. The first phase would take place in February, and the second i.e. knockouts will take place in June after the conclusion of the IPL. 

"Ranji Trophy is our most prestigious domestic competition, which has been providing Indian Cricket with an enviable talent pool every year. It is absolutely important that we take all necessary steps to safeguard the interest of this premier event," Shah was reported to say.

The announcement came as a big relief for the fans, as well as the domestic cricketers as the Ranji Trophy was cancelled last year due to COVID-19. The domestic trophy was postponed from January to February due to COVID-19 third wave.

The current Ranji Trophy season starts from 10th February.

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