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Ajinkya Rahane is looking forward to Ranji Trophy, looks in fine touch: Mumbai coach Amol Mazumdar

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While Ajinkya Rahane has begun traiining with the Mumbai team ahead of Ranji Trophy, Cheteshwar Pujara hit the nets at the SCA Stadium in Rajkot.

Ajinkya Rahane will be keen on making a mark in the upcoming Ranji Trophy (PTI Photo)

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Ajinkya Rahane has begun training with Mumbai team
  • Rahane hasn’t been in the best of forms in Test cricket
  • Cheteshwar Pujara also hit the nets at the SCA in Rajkot

Ajinkya Rahane is looking forward to playing in the Ranji Trophy and he has been training with the Mumbai team, its coach Amol Mazumdar said on Thursday. Rahane needs a good Ranji Trophy season to regain the selectors’ faith after a series of poor outings for the senior national team.

Rahane’s form has been a cause for concern as the senior batter averaged less than 20 over the last 2 years. In the 2 Tests he played in 2022, Rahane managed just 68 runs as India lost the Test series in South Africa. Rahane was removed as vice-captain ahead of India’s tour of South Africa due to poor form.

Questions have been asked of Rahane’s place in the Test team but Amol Mazumdar believes that the senior batter will be able to regain form once he regains confidence and that the upcoming Ranji Trophy will be of good help.

The Elite group games will start from February 16 after the Plate Group matches begin from February 10 as the BCCI confirmed that the Ranji Trophy will be held in two phases in 2022.

With the Test series against Sri Lanka pushed back to March, the Ranji Trophy offers a good opportunity to both Rahane and under-fire Cheteshwar Pujara to win back the selectors’ faith.

“Ajinkya is definitely looking forward to it. We have met a few times now, he has been practising with the Mumbai team. He has had about couple of sessions already. Looked absolutely in fine touch,” Mumbai coach Amol Muzumdar told PTI.

“We don’t have to look too much into the future but what is lying ahead of us is Ranji Trophy. They both are due for a big one. I feel it is just a question of confidence. Sometimes batting is nothing but confidence.

“If you can regain that confidence somehow. It will come only if you score a big hundred,” added Muzumdar.

PUJARA HITS THE NETS IN RAJKOT

While Rahane has been working hard in the Mumbai nets, Pujara on Thursday had his first session with defending champions Saurashtra at the SCA Stadium in Rajkot.

Pujara batted for 90 minutes in the nets besides undergoing fitness training. He specifically asked the pacers to bowl reverse swing.

“Pujara is not like other batters. He always has a specific plan when he walks into the nets. He is very meticulous in the way he trains. Today he wanted to practise against reverse swing which he may encounter in the Sri Lanka series,” Saurashtra coach Niraj Odedra told the news agency.

India will play 2 Tests against Sri Lanka in March as the Asian giants look to bounce back from the crushing defeat in South Africa.

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