Dravid, Joshi rested for Ranji tie against Saurashtra

The multiple-time former champions are on a roll this season with 23 points from five matches, and are already assured of a place in the knockout quarterfinal phase with a game to go.

“The decision was taken in consultation with the players concerned, and they were in total agreement with us,” selection panel chairman Syed Kirmani told Deccan Herald. “We all thought this was an excellent opportunity for us to test the bench strength in a low-pressure situation, considering we are already through to the last-eight stage.

“Obviously, when it comes to the crunch, we will return to our ace players but we thought in this game, we could give some of the guys who have been sitting out a chance to show what they are capable of,” the former India stumper added.

Left-arm spinning all-rounder Joshi, who last month became Karnataka’s highest wicket-taker in Ranji Trophy, said, “I understand the thinking behind this decision. It’s a good move, a chance for some of the younger boys to get back into first-class cricket, especially since we have already qualified for the knockout stage.”

Medium-paced all-rounder Aditya B Sagar has been included in the 15-man squad which consists of the prolific new-ball pair of R Vinay Kumar and A Mithun. It should, however, come as no surprise if Vinay too is rested for the match, considering the workload he has shouldered and the amount of cricket that lies ahead.

The team: Robin Uthappa (capt), KB Pawan, Amit Verma, Manish Pandey, B Akhil, CM Gautam, Ganesh Satish, R Vinay Kumar, A Mithun, S Aravind, Stuart Binny, Udit Patel, KP Appanna, Ryan Ninan, Aditya Sagar. Coach: K Sanath Kumar. Assistant coach: Somashekar Shiraguppi. Manager:  Raghuram Bhat. Physio: V Muthu Kumar. Trainer: Ramakanth. Video analyst: Prasanna.

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