Naushad Shaikh to lead Maharashtra in Ranji Trophy

Maharashtra's new selection panel, headed by former India batsman Abhijeet Kale, has decided to change the guard for the Group C opener versus Haryana.

Nuashad Shaikh celebrates taking a wicket during the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy (FILE IMAGE)   -  SHIV KUMAR PUSHPAKAR

Naushad Shaikh has been appointed the captain of Maharashtra for the Ranji Trophy season as the depleted team hopes to redeem itself after being relegated to Group C after a disastrous outing last season.

Maharashtra Cricket Association secretary Riyaz Bagwan confirmed that the new selection panel, headed by former India batsman Abhijeet Kale, has decided to change the guard for the Group C opener versus Haryana, to be played at Rohtak from December 9.

Kale explained the need for a change in captaincy. “After the squad was relegated last year, we thought we should bring in new ideas and a change at the top. Naushad stands out because he is a consistent performer with the bat anyway but he is thinking cricketer and is an excellent man-manager, so hopefully it will work for the team,” Kale told Sportstar from Pune.

With the presence of three former captains in the squad and star player Kedar Jadhav set to join the squad later in the season, Shaikh will require his man-management skills to keep the unit together. The 28-year-old, however, felt the presence of seniors will help him a great deal.

“It came as a surprise but I am thrilled and honoured with the responsibility,” Shaikh said. “With so many seniors in the squad, we hope to start well and bounce back this year.”

The squad: Naushad Shaikh (Capt.), Ruturaj Gaikwad (Vice-capt.), Swapnil Gugale, Chirag Khurana, Rahul Tripathi, Ankeet Bawane, Azeem Kazi, Vishant More (wk), Satyajeet Bachhav, Samad Fallah, Anupam Sanklecha, Digvijay Deshmukh, Pradeep Dadhe, Mukesh Choudhary, Jagdish Zope.

Coach: Surendra Bhave; Assistant coach: Ashish Suryawanshi; Physiotherapist: Sandeep Gaikwad, Trainer: Shekhar Gawli; Manager: Mohamed Poonawala.

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