Hyderabad start Ranji essay vs Punjab

V.V.S. Laxman will begin life post-retirement by leading Hyderabad against Punjab in their 2012-13 season Ranji Trophy opener against a Punjab side comprising stalwarts like Harbhajan Singh and Yuvraj Singh at Mohali on Friday.

Hyderabad had experienced a fairytale season last year when, languishing in the now defunct Plate Division for the second year running, they had a horror start to the season and recovered to storm back into the top tier.

The man who led the team back into reckoning, D.B. Ravi Teja will essay the role of Laxman’s deputy. The team retains all of the players who made a difference last year, including Akshath Reddy, who slammed four centuries in his debut season.

The squad comprises young, exciting talent in the form of left-hander B. Sandeep and U-19 World Cup hero G.H. Vihari as well as experienced campaigners like Ahmed Quadri, wicketkeeper Ibrahim Khaleel and Arjun Yadav. India left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha, currently enjoying a great run of form, will be an added asset to the team.

The home team will be led by off-spinner Harbhajan, who will be looking to make full use of the season to earn his place back on the Indian Test team. All-rounder Yuvraj, on a spectacular comeback trail after battling cancer, will be the biggest threat to Hyderabad.

THE SQUADS

Hyderabad: V.V.S. Laxman (captain), D.B. Ravi Teja (vice-captain), Vishal Sharma, Mohammed Khader, Abhinav Kumar, Anwar Khan, Ashish Reddy, Ibrahim Khaleel, Pagadala Naidu, Pragyan Ojha, Ahmed Quadri, Akshath Reddy, B. Sandeep, G.H. Vihari, Arjun Yadav.

Punjab: Harbhajan Singh (captain), Mandeep Singh (vice-captain), Gurkirat Ahluwalia, Amitoze Singh, Bipul Sharma, Karan Goel, Manpreet Gony, Jiwanjot Singh, Siddarth Kaul, Uday Kaul, Rajwinder Singh, Sandeep Sharma, Rahul Sharma, Mayank Sidhana, Yuvraj Singh.

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