Ranji Trophy 2018-19: Saurashtra faces Gujarat sans Pujara, Jadeja

Saurashtra coach, Sitanshu Kotak, says that the absence of India cricketers means the others players must "step up".

Indian cricketers Ravindra Jadeja and Cheteshwar Pujara

Ravindra Jadeja and Cheteshwar Pujara will miss the fixture against Gujarat.   -  K. Bhagya Prakash

As Saurashtra takes on Gujarat in a Ranji Trophy fixture in Nadiad from Tuesday, it will be missing the services of its seasoned campaigners, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ravindra Jadeja.

Both the India internationals are supposed to leave for Australia on Saturday to join India’s Test team. While Pujara had not featured in the side’s last outing against Railways as he was recovering from a stiff neck--which he picked up during the first match against Chhattisgarh--Jadeja had slammed a century in the last match against Railways.

With the departure for Australia closing on, it would have been tough for both to make himself available the state team’s third match of the season.

Read: Karnataka hosts Mumbai in heavyweight clash

Despite the unavailability of two star players, coach Sitanshu Kotak is confident of the side’s chances. “Even Gujarat will be without the services of Parthiv (Patel, who is in New Zealand with the India A team). We will definitely miss them but the other players need to step up. This is an opportunity for them,” Kotak told Sportstar.

While he admitted that Pujara and Jadeja cannot be ‘replaced’, he hoped that the other experienced players play to their potential. “We have a good chance,” he said.

But then, the side also has a major injury concern in pacer Jaydev Unadkat. The pacer, who is also the bowling mainstay of the team, picked up an ankle injury in the previous match and is most likely to miss the fixture against Gujarat. While the doctors have confirmed that the injury is not very serious, it will, however, take a few days for the pacer to recover.