By BV Swagath
India’s new no.3 Test batsman Cheteshwar Pujara has been named as the Captain of the 14-man Rest of India Squad for this season’s Irani Trophy. The one-off fixture between the previous season’s Ranji champs – Rajasthan and Rest of India has been shifted to Bangalore from Jaipur. The 5-day match will begin on the 21st of this month.
Three players of the victorious India Under-19 players have been rewarded with places in the Rest of India squad. The first player is Mumbai’s left-arm spinner Harmeet Singh, whom former Aussie Captain Ian Chappell believes is the second best spinner in World Cricket! Harmeet has played in 3 first-class games of his career having made his debut as a 17-year-old three years ago.
Apart from Harmeet, Baba Aparajith and Sandeep Sharma are the other two Under 19 players making it to the Rest of India team. Baba Aparajith was the star performer in the Under-19 World Cup shining in all the three departments of the game. The Tamil Nadu lad is a specialist batsman and also an off-spinner. The third Under 19 player is Punjab’s Sandeep Sharma who has played three first class games. Sharma is good at swinging the ball both ways.
The Selectors have also picked some of the players who were part of the Indian Test Squad recently like Rahane, Badrinath, Pragyan Ojha, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav. Meanwhile Yusuf Pathan has been given an opportunity as well. An interesting pick in the ROI squad is Punjab speedster Parvinder Awana who impressed everyone with his lively pace and movement in the IPL.
Rest of India Squad: Cheteshwar Pujara (Captain), M Vijay, Ajinkya Rahane, S Badrinath, Dinesh Karthik, Wriddhiman Saha (Wicket Keeper), Yusuf Pathan, Pragyan Ojha, Parvinder Awana, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Shikhar Dhawan, Stuart Binny, Abhimanyu Mithun and Harmeet Singh