India batsman Cheteshwar Pujara will lead the 15-member Rest of India squad against the Ranji Trophy champions Gujarat in Irani Cup from January 18 to 22 to be played at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. Wriddhiman Saha will be make a comeback to competitive cricket after a period of two months as the latter missed the major portion of the Test series against England due to injury.
Rest of India squad includes Abhinav Mukund and Akhil Herwadkar as openers. Mukund, the led Tamil Nadu to the semis of Ranji Trophy. Akhil Herwadkar, who missed a few games due to injury, was a part of Mumbai team for the final. He scored 467 runs at an average of 42.45 in 12 innings in Ranji Trophy 2016/17.
Pujara will perform the duties at No. 3 with Karun Nair, who scored a triple century in Chennai Test against England, is most likely to bat at No. 4. Ishan Kishan and Prashant Chopra have been rewarded for a good show in the Ranji Trophy. Bengal skipper Manoj Tiwary also finds a place in the team.
Pankaj Singh will be leading the pace bowling attack alongside Shardul Thakur, Siddharth Kaul and K Vignesh. Shahbaz Nadeem will lead the spin attack along with Kuldeep Yadav. Nadeem scalped 56 wickets whereas Kuldeep Yadav scalped 35 wickets in Ranji Trophy. Kuldeep also scored 466 runs and ended as highest run-scorer and wicket-taker for Uttar Pradesh.
The Rest of India squad was selected by a three-member committee comprising of MSK Prasad, Sarandeep Singh and Devang Gandhi as Gagan Khoda and Jatin Paranjpe have been removed from the selection panel as per the recommendations of Lodha panel.
Rest of India Squad: Abhinav Mukund, Akhil Herwadkar, Cheteshwar Pujara (captain), Karun Nair, Manoj Tiwary, Wriddhiman Saha, Kuldeep Yadav, Shahbaz Nadeem, Pankaj Singh, K Vignesh, Siddarth Kaul, Shardul Thakur, Akshay Wakhare, Ishan Kishan, Prashant Chopra.