Ranji Trophy 2018-19: Siddhesh Lad to lead Mumbai against Maharashtra

Mumbai received a jolt with captain and pace spearhead Dhawal Kulkarni being ruled of its vital Ranji Trophy Elite Group A tie versus arch-rival Maharashtra, to be played in Pune from Thursday.

Siddhesh Lad is excited to lead Mumbai in a Ranji Trophy fixture for the first time.   -  B Jothi Ramalingam

As if paceman Tushar Deshpande breaking down during the humiliating loss to Gujarat last week wasn’t a big enough blow, Mumbai received another jolt with captain and pace spearhead Dhawal Kulkarni being ruled of its vital Ranji Trophy Elite Group A tie versus arch-rival Maharashtra, to be played in Pune from Thursday.

READ: Younger players don't value Mumbai cap, says Vinayak Samant

Kulkarni’s absence, thanks to an ankle niggle, has resulted in batsman Siddhesh Lad being handed the captaincy for the crucial tie. Having gained reputation as a crisis-man in the first couple of years, Lad has emerged as the backbone of Mumbai’s inconsistent batting line-up. After batting down the order in the first two games of the season, Lad was promoted to the No. 3 position against Gujarat last week.

READ: Gujarat strolls to win over Mumbai

Excited to lead Mumbai for the first time, Lad hoped to turn the tide. “It’s a huge honour, one of the milestone moments of my career,” Lad told Sportstar. “But I understand that it’s a challenging stage to be leading the team. It’s an important match for us and we are a relatively young side. I hope I can lead from the front with the help of a couple of seniors in the team.”

With both the new-ball bowlers being sidelined due to injuries, the selection panel headed by former India pacer Ajit Agarkar has replaced the duo with young pacers Minad Manjrekar and Shivam Malhotra, both of whom made their first-class debut during the last season.

Herwadkar dropped

The selectors have also replaced out-of-form opening batsman Akhil Herwadkar with uncapped opener Bhupen Lalwani. While the left-handed Herwadkar managed to tally 76 runs from six innings in the first three games, Lalwani is fresh from piling on 166 versus Uttar Pradesh in the C.K. Nayudu (U-23) Trophy. However, considering the crucial juncture of the match, Aditya Tare may open the innings with Jay Bista to lend experience at the top.

The squad

Siddhesh Lad (Captain), Aditya Tare (wicketkeeper), Suryakumar Yadav, Jay Bista, Shivam Dube, Eknath Kerkar (wicketkeeper), Armaan Jaffer, Karsh Kothari, Akash Parkar, Shubham Ranjane, Dhrumil Matkar, Bhupen Lalwani, Shivam Malhotra, Royston Dias, Minad Manjrekar.