Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara set to play Ranji Trophy
Senior Indian batters Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane will feature in the Ranji Trophy, India's premier First-class tournament, set to be held in two phases. Top-order batter Pujara was named in Saurashtra's squad to be led by Jaydev Unadkat. Meanwhile, Rahane will play for Mumbai under Prithvi Shaw. Both Rahane and Pujara have been under the scanner of late. Here are further details.
Why does this story matter?
Over the last decade, Pujara and Rahane have served as India's mainstay batters in Test cricket. However, the duo has drawn criticism in recent times for being inconsistent with the bat. Pujara hasn't scored a Test ton in over three years, while Rahane last reached three figures in the 2020 Boxing Day Test Down Under. Playing the Ranji Trophy will help them improve.
Decoding the lean patch of Pujara
Pujara was the leading run-scorer of the 2018/19 Border-Gavaskar series (521). He helped India win their maiden Test series Down Under. His last ton came in January 2019 (193 at the SCG). Pujara has scored 1,287 runs in 27 Tests at 27.38 ever since. The tally includes just 12 fifties. He registered the highest score of 91 (against England at Leeds) during the period.
Rahane averaged 20.82 in 2021
Like Pujara, Rahane has battled poor form over the last couple of years. Following his fighting century at the MCG, he failed to deliver the goods. He recorded an average of 20.82 in 2021 by scoring 479 runs in 13 Tests. He managed just two fifties with the best score of 67. In 2022, Rahane averages 17.00, having played four innings (68 runs).
Rahane and Pujara last played Ranji Trophy in 2019/20
Rahane last played the Ranji Trophy in the 2019/20 season. Mumbai failed to make the knockout stage back then. Meanwhile, Pujara helped Saurashtra win the final of that season. He scored a phenomenal 66 as Saurashtra defeated Bengal to win the title.
Saurashtra and Mumbai drawn together in Group D
The 2022 Ranji Trophy will be held over two phases between February 10 and June 26 across nine venues in India. The first phase of the tournament is scheduled to be held between February 10 and March 15. Meanwhile, the knockouts will take place after the conclusion of the IPL 2022. Notably, Saurashtra and Mumbai are drawn together in Group D.
Mumbai's squad for Ranji Trophy
Mumbai squad: Prithvi Shaw (captain), Ajinkya Rahane, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Aakarshit Gomel, Arman Jaffer, Sarfaraz Khan, Sachin Yadav, Aditya Tare, Hardik Tamore, Shivam Dube, Aman Khan, Shams Mulani, Tanush Kotian, Prashant Solanki, Shashank Attarde, Dhaval Kulkarni, Mohit Awasthi, Prince Badiani, Siddharth Raut, Roystan Dias, Arjun Tendulkar
Saurashtra's squad for Ranji Trophy
Saurashtra squad: Jaydev Unadkat (captain), Pujara, Sheldon Jackson, Arpit Vasavada, Chirag Jani, Kamlesh Makwana, Dharmendrasinh Jadeja, Chetan Sakariya, Prerak Mankad, Vishvarajsinh Jadeja, Harvik Desai, Kevin Jivrajani, Kushang Patel, Jay Chauhan, Samarth Vyas, Parthkumar Bhut, Yuvrajsinh Chudasama, Devang Karamta, Snell Patel, Kishan Parmar and Aditya JadejaShare this timeline