Ranji Trophy: Punjab meets Hyderabad, sans Yuvraj

Punjab will play an extra spinner with leggie Mayank Markande, likely to share the job with left-arm spinner Abhishek Sharma while Siddarth Kaul too returns to the squad.

Hyderabad captain Akshath Reddy (right) should lead from the front looking for support from the top-order including his opening partner Tanmay Agarwal, Rohit Rayudu, B. Sandeep (centre), Himalay Agarwal to give the bowlers a chance to have some say in the match. Here the duo talks to coach N. Arjun Yadav.   -  K.V.S. Giri

Punjab, sans all-rounder Yuvraj Singh, takes on Hyderabad in the penultimate round of the league phase of Ranji Trophy Group-B at Rajiv Gandhi Stadium here from Saturday.

“Yuvraj is more into mentoring and grooming the young talent. He wants to give chances to the young talent and has actually opted out of this match,” says Punjab coach Rajdeep Kalsi.

It is also revealed that Punjab will play an extra spinner here with leggie Mayank Markande (who missed the last game as he was playing for India-A in New Zealand) likely to share the job with left-arm spinner Abhishek Sharma while Siddarth Kaul too returns to the squad.

With the pitch looking no different from what it was for the previous games this season, the onus will be on the likes of the exciting Shubman Gill, who slammed a double century against Tamil Nadu in the previous game, Mandeep Singh, Gurkeerat Singh and Jiwanjot Singh to come good with the willow to give the desired cushion for the bowlers.

In bowling, pacer Manpreet Gony, who picked a five-wicket haul against Tamil Nadu in the previous game, should in all probability share the new ball with Kaul and all-rounder Baltej Singh.

On the other hand, Hyderabad captain Akshath Reddy should lead from the front looking for support from the top-order including his opening partner Tanmay Agarwal, Rohit Rayudu, B. Sandeep, Himalay Agarwal to give the bowlers a chance to have some say in the match.

In bowling, the pace trio of Ravi Kiran, Mohd Siraj and Chama Milind hold the key to the team’s fortunes against a quality line-up, especially in the mornings when there will be some help for them to exploit. The spin department will be in the hands of left-armers Mehdi Hasan and Tanay Thyagarajan and offie Saaketh Sai Ram and all three playing is a remote possibility.

Hyderabad has 12 points from six games while Punjab has 12 from five games and it will be stating the obvious that an outright win is critical to both the teams before they leave for the final round of matches.

The teams

Hyderabad: P. Akshath Reddy (c), B. Sandeep, Tanmay Agarwal, Rohit Rayudu, Himalay Agarwal, K.S.K. Chaitanya, Mohammed Siraj, C.V. Milind, Ravi Kiran, Mehdi Hasan, P.S. Chaitanya Reddy, Karthikeya Kak, T. Ravi Teja and Saket Sai Ram.

Punjab: Jiwanjot Singh, Shubman Gill, Mandeep Singh (c), Anmolpreet Singh, Gurkeerat Singh, Abhishek Gupta, Abhishek Sharma, Mayank Markande, Manpreet Gony, Siddarth Kaul, Sandeep Sharma, Baltej Singh, Vinay Choudhary, Sanvir Singh and Arpit Pannu.