Ranji Trophy: Suryakumar Yadav to lead Mumbai

Suryakumar Yadav is back as the captain of Mumbai’s Ranji Trophy team as the domestic giant hope to revive its Ranji fortune in the season-opener against Baroda in Vadodara from December 9.

Yadav’s last stint as Ranji captain was forgettable as infighting coupled with poor performance of the team resulted in his being replaced mid-way through the 2014-15 season. Since then, Yadav has emerged as a mature cricketer and his leadership abilities were applauded during Mumbai’s white-ball tournaments this season.

Impressed with his leadership abilities and the versatile batsman leading from the front with the bat in the white-ball season, the selection committee headed by Milind Rege during its meeting on Monday decided to stick to Yadav for the Ranji season.

Yadav, who was unceremoniously dropped during the last season, will be keen on starting the season well after an inferior season for Mumbai. The 41-times champion side was never in contention for regaining the Ranji crown, finishing the league stage with a tally of 17 points from eight games.

Rahane available

Yadav would be delighted to have a senior pro like Ajinkya Rahane in the ranks at the start of the season. With the Men in Blue set to busy with white-ball cricket for the next two months, Rahane could well be available for Mumbai’s first four matches of the season. His presence will not only help Yadav and coach Vinayak Samant to keep the flock together but also keep Rahane ready for the sterner test lying ahead in New Zealand. Interestingly, Rahane’s last outing in whites for Mumbai was against Baroda, at Wankhede Stadium in November 2017.

Besides Rahane and Yadav, all eyes will be on Prithvi Shaw, with the youngster hoping to continue to impress the national selectors on his comeback trail. The promising youngster has faced multiple setbacks in the last year - from an ill-timed injury in Australia last November to a doping offence that resulted in his suspension. But the diminutive opener had an impressive campaign in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy’s Super League, despite Mumbai failing to make the cut for the semifinal.