Mumbai: Saurashtra`s prolific batsman Cheteshwar Pujara was on Monday chosen to lead West Zone in this year`s Duleep Trophy championship commencing at Valsad on January 27.
Mumbai`s Ajinkya Rahane, now touring Australia as part of the Test squad, was named as Pujara`s deputy by the zonal selectors, but is not available for the opening quarter final encounter against East Zone, according to zonal panel convenor Nitin Dalal.
"He is available to play from the second match (if West qualify)," said Dalal who also informed that young Saurashtra left-arm pacer Jaydev Unadkat, who has taken 26 wickets this season, has been ruled out of the competition because of an injury.
"He feels pain from back to groin when he bowls," Dalal explained.
Young medium pacer Balwinder Singh Sandhu (Jr.) has found a place in the squad following his good show for Mumbai in his opening first class season by taking five wickets in an innings on debut against Punjab and ending the campaign with a ten-wicket haul against Tamil Nadu in the semi final.
West would meet East in the first match of the five-team competition and the winners of the tie would play against North at Delhi from February 4-7. The other semi final pitting South against Central will be held at Chennai on same dates.
The final is to be held at Indore from February 12-16.
West Zone squad: Cheteshwar Pujara (Capt., Saurashtra), Ajinkya Rahane (V-Capt., Mumbai), Kaustubh Pawar, Harshad Khadiwale (Maharashtra), Suryakumar Yadav (Mumbai), Abhisekh Nayar (Mumbai), Ankit Bawane (Maharashtra), Ambati Rayudu (Baroda), Rohit Motwani (Maharashtra), Akshay Darekar (Maharashtra), Dhawal Kulkarni (Mumbai), Ishwar Chaudhary (Gujarat), Balwinder Sandhu Jr. (Mumbai), Kamlesh Makwana (Saurashtra), Samad Fallah (Maharashtra).
Manager: Rajendra Shah (Saurashtra); Coach: Sulakshan Kulkarni (Mumbai).