Gautam Gambhir, who has recovered from an ankle injury, will return to Delhi’s team for the knockout phase of the Vijay Hazare Trophy. Shreyas Iyer, who was recently part of India’s first ODI series win in South Africa, has also been included in Mumbai’s squad. However, Ajinkya Rahane, back home after national duty, has taken a break after Mumbai chief selector Ajit Agarkar agreed to his request.
Gambhir, who had been sidelined from the group stages of the tournament, will bolster an already in-form Delhi top order: despite suffering a freak blow on the jaw, Unmukt Chand has piled up 319 runs in six innings at 53.16, while Hiten Dalal has hit 283 runs at 47.16. Manjot Kalra, who had smashed an unbeaten 101 in India’s Under-19 World Cup title win, was put on stand-by.
Karnataka, meanwhile, were dealt a major blow with their captain R Vinay Kumar being ruled out of their quarter-final against Hyderabad in Delhi, with an elbow injury. He had also missed Karnataka’s last group game against Railways in Alur on February 16. Karun Nair, who stood-in as captain, will be in charge of the team in the quarter-final too.
Yusuf Pathan’s troubles continued, the latest being the axing from the Vijay Hazare Trophy. After missing a large chunk of the Ranji Trophy because of a back-dated ban for a doping violation, the allrounder was not considered for the 20-over Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. He then received a last-minute call-up for the Vijay Hazare Trophy, but has now been dropped following poor returns in six league matches. He managed only 79 runs at an average of 13.16 and one wicket in eight overs. Twenty-two year-old Akshay Brahmbhatt, who is uncapped in List A cricket, was named as Yusuf’s replacement.