Mumbai are set to begin their Ranji campaign against Madhya Pradesh at Holkar Stadium from October 14. However, the 41-time champions and last season’s runners-up will be without their star batsman Ajinkya Rahane, informed chief selector of Mumbai’s Ranji team Ajit Agarkar, reported The Times of India. “He’s informed us that he’s unavailable for selection for this game,” said Agarkar.

The senior batsman’s absence will surely hurt Mumbai because they are missing other key players such as Shreyas Iyer, Prithvi Shaw and Shardul Thakur who will represent India A in the one-day games against New Zealand A. They will also miss the services of fast bowler Dhawal Kulkarni who will feature for the Board President’s XI against New Zealand at CCI on October 17.

Rahane, though, will be holidaying in Seychelles with his wife.

A rather long holiday 

Mumbai are set to begin their campaign with five of their main players out of action. However, Rahane missing the match does not make sense because he last played against Australia in the fifth one-day on October 1. He was dropped for the ongoing T20 international series against Australia as well.

“Frankly, the selectors were surprised, rather shocked and disappointed about it. They didn’t expect this from a dedicated player like him. Generally, a two-week break is enough for a player. With Mumbai missing a few top players, Rahane’s presence would’ve really helped,” said a source in the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA).

The MCA officials are also not happy with players featuring in Board President’s XI. “Is a warm-up game more important, or is the Ranji Trophy more significant? It looks like the premier domestic tournament may lose its sheen too,” said a source.

Mumbai will begin their campaign under new coach Sameer Dighe and will be led by wicket-keeper batsman Adiya Tare.

Squad: Aditya Tare (Captain), Surya Kumar Yadav (Vice Captain), Abhishek Nayar, Akhil Herwadkar, Siddhesh Lad, Jay Bista, Sufiyan Shaikh, Vijay Gohil, Akash Parkar, Roystan Dias, Minad Manjrekar, Aditya Dhumal, Shivam Malhotra, Shubham Ranjane, Eknath Kerkar.