Hardik Pandya skips the Ranji Trophy

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The multi-talented Hardik Pandya will skip the Ranji Trophy from February 10 to focus on his return to India in cue-ball cricket. Kedar Devdhar was named captain of the Baroda team on Monday.

Vishnu Solanki was appointed Devdhar’s deputy when the Baroda Cricket Association announced a 20-member squad ahead of the first phase of the tournament. However, Hardik’s name does not appear on the squad list. Hardik has been sidelined since last year’s T20 World Cup, making him unavailable for the national team due to a back injury and additional rehabilitation.

The 28-year-old, who drew much criticism for not bowling during India’s dismal T20 World Cup campaign, has not played red ball cricket since December 2018 and has often admitted that injuries have affected their prospects in the longest format of the game. Hardik is expected to return to competitive cricket in the Indian Premier League, where he will make his first appearance as full-time captain with the CVC-owned Ahmedabad franchise.

In an interview with PTI last week, BCCI President Saurav Ganguly said he looked forward to seeing the all-rounder play in the Ranji Trophy. Hardik was injured and given a break to fully recover so that he can continue to serve Indian cricket for a long period of time. I think I’ll see him play some Trophy Ranji to start with. I hope he plays a lot more overs and his body will get stronger, Ganguly said.

Hardik’s brother, Krunal Pandya, has also been included in the team. The tournament, which was not held last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was scheduled to start on January 13, but was postponed due to a third wave of infections across the country.

It will now take place in two phases, with the first phase starting Thursday through March 15 in various locations across the country. The main national event takes a break during the IPL and resumes from May 30 to June 26.

Baroda Squad: Kedar Dhevdhar, Vishnu Solanki, Pratyush Kumar, Shivalik Sharma, Krunal Pandya, Abhimanyusingh Rajput, Dhruv Patel, Mitesh Patel, Lukman Meriwala, Babasafikhan Pathan (week), Atit Sheth, Bhargav Bhatt, Parth Kohli, Shashwat Rawat, Soyeb Sopariya, Kartik Kakade , Gurjindersingh Mann, Jyotsnil Singh, Ninad Rathwa, Akshay More.

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