Mumbai coach Pravin Amre made it clear that Sachin Tendulkar will not play Ranji Trophy semifinal against Delhi.
Speculation was on that since Tendulkar has opted out of the tri-series in Bangladesh he may play in the important match, starting here on Sunday.
However, Amre reasoned that since the senior batsman had taken a break for rest, there was no chance of him playing in the Ranji semifinal.
“He has opted out of the Bangladesh tri-series to take rest and is not available for the semifinals. The team is going to be picked on Wednesday,” Mumbai team coach Pravin Amre said.
Absence of Rohit Sharma from the Mumbai line-up, as he has been picked in the national team for the Bangladesh tri-series, had fuelled the speculation that Tendulkar may take his place in the side.
Amre though said Prashant Naik and Onkar Khanvilkar, who were part of the side in the quarterfinal against Haryana, have a strong chance to make the final XI.
“We have the option of Prashant and Onkar Khanvilkar who have been with the team. Abishek Nayar is playing a game (local Times Shield tie), giving us more flexibility,” he said.
Amre said both Mumbai, striving for their 39th title, and former champions Delhi would be missing some key players but are going into the tie with the momentum.
“Both the teams are missing some players but have the momentum going into the game,” Amre said.
Seven-time winners Delhi will be without their opening duo of Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir, middle-order batsman Virat Kohli and left-arm pacer Ashish Nehra while besides Tendulkar, Mumbai will not have Rohit Sharma and Zaheer Khan.
The availability of lanky pacer Ishant Sharma, ignored for the triangular event in Bangladesh, has bolstered the visiting team’s attack.
Amre said he had asked his front line bowlers not to play for their respective office outfits in the ongoing Times Shield tournament to remain fresh for the battle against Delhi who last won the title in the 2007-08 season.
“Iqbal Abdulla (left-arm spinner) has bowled over 270 overs (in the tournament). I have asked the five main bowlers to skip the Times Shield tie,” he said.