Sehwag will be the cynosure

Right platform for young guns to prove their mettle

 
The opening long-duration match of the domestic season also provides Rest skipper Virender Sehwag, out of cricketing action since May because of a shoulder injury, an ideal platform to ease his way back into the big-time cricket ahead of the hectic international season.

For Mumbai captain and opener Wasim Jaffer and middle-order batsman Rohit Sharma, both India discards, the tie is yet another opportunity to remind the national selectors of their abilities.

Munaf Patel and S Sreesanth are two other pacers who would be eager to catch the selectors’ eyes and get back into the Indian team by spearheading the Rest pace bowling.

With Sehwag at the top of the order but without much match practice, Rest seem to hold an edge in their well-balanced attack that will be without Irfan Pathan who is out with an injury and has been replaced by UP youngster Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

Sehwag will get the chance to test how good his shoulder is after surgery and will have the support of his vice-captain S Badrinath and M Vijay and Manoj Tiwari - in the main - to build up sizeable scores.

Mumbai, on the other hand, are without experienced campaigners Amol Muzumdar and Sairaj Bahutule - who have moved to other states - as well as all-rounder Abhishek Nayar, who is in South Africa for the Champions Trophy.

Their batting revolves around the powers of concentration of Jaffer, in the main, with support from fellow-opener Sahil Kukreja and stroke-players Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma. Seasoned Ajit Agarkar and upcoming Dhaval Kulkarni would lead the pace attack with rookie bowler Saurabh Netravalkar to play the supportive role while the portly Ramesh Powar and left arm slow bowler Iqbal Abdulla are the spin options.

The teams (from): Rest of India: Virender Sehwag (capt), M Vijay, S Badrinath (vice-capt), Manoj Tiwari, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Wriddiman Saha (wk), S Sreesanth, Munaf Patel, Pragyan Ojha, Kedar Jadav, Abhinav Mukund, Uday Kaul and Sudeep Tyagi.

Mumbai: Wasim Jaffer (capt), Ajit Agarkar (vice-capt), Sahil Kukreja, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Prashant Naik, Vinayak Samant (wk), Ramesh Powar, Iqbal Abdulla, Dhaval Kulkarni, Rahil Shaikh, Murtuza Hussain, Sushant Marathe, Saurabh Netravalkar and Onkar Khanvilkar.

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