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Ranji Trophy 2018-19: India A fast bowlers rested for the opening round of the tournament

The 4 pacers who have been rested will travel to New Zealand in early November.

India A's Deepak Chahar
India A’s Deepak Chahar. (Photo by David Davies/PA Wire)

With India A’s tour of New Zealand not very far away, the BCCI has advised the respective state associations to leave out a set of pacers from the opening round of the Ranji Trophy. The domestic tournament of first-class cricket gets underway on November 1, while the New Zealand tour begins on November 16. India A will take on New Zealand A in three unofficial Tests followed by three unofficial ODIs.

The fast bowlers who’ve been advised to be rested for the opening round of the Ranji Trophy are Rajneesh Gurbani, Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini and Mohammad Siraj. A BCCI official said that this decision to rest the quicks was taken to ensure “that the players are fit and remain fresh for a long tour.”

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Chahar and Siraj are two capped players who’ve represented India in the limited overs formats. Gurbani, on the other hand, is a brilliant fast bowling prospect, who regularly bowls at speeds above 140kph.

Rahane to lead India A side against NZ A

This quartet of pacers are part of the India A team which will depart for New Zealand on November 9 before the 3-match Test series gets underway. The visitors will have Ajinkya Rahane at the helm, and also have the likes of Rohit Sharma, Murali Vijay and Prithvi Shaw for the opening Test. They will, however, travel to Australia soon after the first game is completed as they will have to join Team India ahead of the 4-match Test series against the Aussies.

Rajneesh Gurbani was one of the best performers for Vidarbha last season. He was all set to the play the opening few fixtures for his state and had initially joined the side in Pune before its game against Maharashtra. However, he was asked to head back home after the BCCI sent him a letter regarding his India A duties. Vidarbha Cricket Association secretary and former India international Prashant Vaidya confirmed his absence according to Sportstar. Right-arm seamer Darshan Nalkande will fill in for Gurbani.

The India A tour of New Zealand will work as an audition for selection into the national Test side, who will be playing Down Under at more or less the same time. India’s first Test against Australia is scheduled to begin on December 6 at the Adelaide Oval. While the BCCI has already announced the squad for the Test series, there remain possibilities for further players being drafted in as the series progresses.

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