Bhubaneswar: Shiv Sundar Das was on Sunday dropped from the Orissa Ranji Trophy squad and Debasis Mohanty replaced him as captain for the crucial match against Punjab to be played at the Railway Stadium here from December 1.
The senior selection committee of Orissa Cricket Association (OCA) which met at Cuttack, dropped the dimunitive opener ostensibly for his lean patch with the bat.
Das scored only five runs from as many innings, including two noughts in the current season, with his scores reading one in its only innings against Baroda, one and three against Uttar Pradesh and no score in both the innings against Karnataka.
Besides Das, allrounder Rakesh Mohanty was also dropped from the 16-member squad which was pruned to 14 with Niranjan Behera as vice-captain.
Though Orissa began its Ranji campaign on a positive note against Baroda in the opening tie at Cuttack by taking the first innings lead to garner 3 points, it failed to repeat the feat against Uttar Pradesh at Lucknow and got one point.
The team was handed an innings deafeat by Karnataka at Bangalore with the skipper out for zero in both the innings.
Orissa which was in the Ranji Elite-B group for last three years had so far garnered four points from three matches - Baroda, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka.
Mohanty had suo-motu relinquished the captaincy in 2008 to concentrate on bowling and the selection committee now pinned hope on the lanky fast bowler to lead the beleaguered team from the front and retain the place in the group.
The 14-member squad: Debasis Mohanty (C), Niranjan Behera (VC), Nataraj Behera, Bikash Swarup Pati, Paresh Patel, Subit Biswal, Basanta Mohanty, Alok Sahoo, Subhrajit Sahu (WK), Biplab Samantaray, Gobind Podder, Dhiraj Singh, Santosh Jena and Ansuman Gope.