Rajkot: A relegation-threatened Saurashtra will take on Bengal in a must-win encounter for both teams in the Elite division Ranji Trophy Group A match at the SCA Stadium in Khandheri from on Wednesday.
Saurashtra, a two-time semi-finalist, have not enjoyed a good season so far and are lying in the bottom of the Group-A table after having earned just four points from five matches so far.
This has forced the team management to take a tough stand and drop experienced players like Rakesh Dhruve and Sandip Maniar from the 15-member squad.
The team will also miss the services of Cheteshwar Pujara and Jaidev Unadkat as both the players have left for South Africa along with coach Gary Kirsten, ahead of India’s tour to the country, besides Ravindra Jadeja who too is on national duty.
“Saurashtra has not had a good season this year and at crucial stage of the tournament we will definitely miss the services of Pujara and Unadkat,” skipper Jaydev Shah said.
In the absence of Pujara, the team’s batting responsibility will rest on seasoned Sitanshu Kotak, Sagar Jogiyani, Pratik Mehta and Shah himself. Jayesh Odedara and Balkrishna Jadeja will operate the new ball and will be supported by spinner Kamlesh Makwana.
Meanwhile, Bengal, who have nine points, would like to win both their remaining matches and make a strong claim for a place in the quarter-finals.
The visitors will rely on skipper Manoj Tiwary, Laxmi Ratan Shukla and Srivats Goswami in batting department, while their bowling department would be spearhead by Ranadeb Bose and Ashok Dinda.
Bengal: Manoj Tiwari (Capt), Srivats Goswami, L K Shukla, Saurashish Lahiri, Saurav Sarkar, Arindam Das, Arindam Ghosh, Ashok Dinda, Ranadeb Bose, Iresh Saxena, Writam Porel, Divyendu Chakrowarthy, Arnam Nandi and Anustup Majumdar.
Saurashtra: Jaydev Shah (Capt), Sitanshu Kotak, Chirag Pathak, Sagar Jogiyani, Pratik Mehta, Kamlesh Makwana, Jayesh Odedara, Sheldon Jackson, Bhushan Chauhan, Jaydeep Bhatti, Saurya Sendaliya, Balkrishna Jadeja, Hardik Rathod, Rahul Dave and Prithvipal Solanki.