Ever since the new set of administrators have taken charge at the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA), they made it clear that success in domestic cricket will be a priority. In a bid to turn things around this season, Punjab roped in former India international Ajay Ratra as the coach for Ranji Trophy, while old warhorse Harbhajan Singh has been appointed skipper.

But Punjab will miss the services of its captain Harbhajan and his deputy Yuvraj Singh in the first few games. While Yuvraj will be missing the first match against Himachal Pradesh due to his fitness test at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru, Harbhajan is likely to be available only from the third game.

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“Harbhajan won’t be there due to some commitments. We are expecting him soon. I am not too sure whether he will be there for the second game. Mostly, he will be available from the third. Yuvraj’s fitness test has coincided with the first game, so he won’t be around. But these things happen in cricket, and this is a good opportunity for the youngsters to step up,” coach Ratra told Sportstar.

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Along with the two, medium pacer Siddharth Kaul, who has been picked for the India A squad, will also be out of action in the first game. In Harbhajan and Yuvraj’s absence, Jiwanjot Singh will be leading the side, and Ratra believes the young side has enough potential to do well. “We will definitely miss Yuvraj and Harbhajan. Every player looks up to them. But the team is working hard, and the results should be good,” the coach said.