K. L. Rahul, Umesh Yadav unlikely to play Ranji quarterfinals

While Rahul is unlikely to be released by the India team management for the key clash for Karnataka, Yadav has developed a niggle while bowling in the second Test against Sri Lanka.

K. L. Rahul is being “preserved” for the Twenty20 series against Sri Lanka and tour of South Africa.   -  K. Bhagya Prakash

Karnataka opening batsman K. L. Rahul and Vidarbha pace spearhead Umesh Yadav are set to miss their respective team's Ranji Trophy quarterfinals that begin on Thursday. While Rahul is unlikely to be released by the India team management for the key clash, Yadav has developed a niggle while bowling in the second Test against Sri Lanka.

Ever since the quarterfinal schedule was announced by the BCCI at the conclusion of the league stage last week, the Karnataka and Vidarbha camps had their eye fixed on India's starting line-up for the ongoing series-decider against Sri Lanka in New Delhi. The moment Rahul and Yadav didn't feature in India's XI at the Kotla, the Karnataka and Vidarbha associations promptly requested their key players for the quarterfinal clashes.

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While Karnataka takes on the 41-time champion Mumbai at the Vidarbha Cricket Association stadium in Jamtha, on the outskirts of the Orange City (Nagpur), Vidarbha will face Kerala for a place in the semifinal in Surat.

‘Preserving’ Rahul

Sportstar understands that the team management in consultation with the chairman of national selection panel M. S. K. Prasad has decided against releasing Rahul for the key clash. Despite not featuring in India's One-Day International (ODI) squad, the team management is understood to have decided to “preserve” Rahul for the forthcoming Twenty20 series and, more importantly, the tour to South Africa.

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Yadav, on the other hand, is understood to have developed a shoulder strain and according to a VCA official, has been advised to report at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru for his rehabilitation programme in order to recover in time for India's departure to South Africa in the last week of December.

While choosing its squad for the quarterfinal on November 29, Vidarbha selection committee had opted not to name Yadav in the 15-member squad but the fast bowler had been selected as the first stand-by. Karnataka, meanwhile, had neither selected Rahul nor Manish Pandey, who will feature in the ODI series starting December 10, for the quarterfinal clash.