Rajkot: Saurashtra, last year`s runners up, will play against Rajasthan in the opening match of the current season of Ranji Trophy starting here from Sunday at the Saurashtra Cricket Association stadium at Khandheri.
Despite the absence of Ravindra Jadeja, Cheteshwar Pujara and Jaydev Unadkat, Saurashtra skipper Jaydev Shah is hopeful of doing well this year too after making it to the final last time.
"The young players are fresh and excited and they have the best chance to grab the opportunity to show their talent in the absent of Pujara, Jadeja and Unadkat," Shah said.
Saurashtra batting would revolve around Pujara, who is available for this match while Shah, Sheldon Jackson, Arpit Vasavada, all who had done well last year with the bat, would shoulder the batting responsibility along with Pujara.
Sitanshu Kotak, who is playing his last match of his 21-year-long career, is just 4 runs short of completing 8,000 first class career runs; he would be the first player from Saurashtra to reach this milestone.
Sandip Maniar and Abhishek Bhatt would handle the new ball, to be supported by the spinners Kamlesh Makwana, Vishal Joshi and Nayan Doshi.
Rajasthan captain Hrishikesh Kanitkar hoped to start the season with a bang. "We want to start the new season with playing good cricket against Saurashtra," Kanitkar said.
For the visitors, Ashok Menaria, Robin Bist, Vineet Saxena would shoulder batting responsibility while Pankaj Singh would spearhead bowling alongwith Puneet Yadav, Manjeet Singh and spinner Romesh Powar.
Rajasthan:- Hrishikesh Kanitkar (capt), Vineet Saxena, Saurabh Chaudhary, Robin Bist, Ashok Menaria, Rajesh Bishnoi, Dishant Yagnik, Pankaj Singh, Aniket Choudhary, Romesh Powar, Manjeet Choudhary, Sarif, Arishta Singhavi and Vivek Yadav.