Mumbai: Senior batsman Sachin Tendulkar will make a rare appearance in domestic four-day cricket to gain match practice ahead of the home Test series against England.
Sachin Tendulkar was seen going through the paces at the Wankhede Stadium on Monday morning, in preparation for his first Ranji Trophy match in over 3 years.
The 39-year-old, the world's leading scorer in both Test and one-day cricket, was named in a 13-man Mumbai squad for a four-day Ranji Trophy match against Railways starting in Mumbai on November 2.
Tendulkar, whose last Ranji appearance was in 2009, struggled in a home Test series against New Zealand in August-September when he scored just 63 runs in three innings.
Legendary Indian opener Sunil Gavaskar even suggested during the second Test against New Zealand in Bangalore that Tendulkar's reflexes were on the slide after the batsman was bowled in all three innings.
Tendulkar has made a record 51 Test centuries but has now gone 25 innings without a hundred in the five-day game since making 146 against South Africa in Cape Town in January 2011.
Tendulkar's preparation, even in the 2011 Test series in England created a lot of flutter as Monty Panesar was one of his training partners. It did not go down too well with the English media and Monty was literally under the pump then.
Meanwhile, Ajit Agarkar will lead Mumbai in the Ranji game at the Wankhede Stadium. The side is mentored by Sulakshan Kulkarni, who incidentally was an integral part of Tendulkar’s Ranji Trophy winning squad in 1994-95.
Sachin has scored a world record Test (15,553) and one-day (18,426) runs and has also compiled an unprecedented 100 international centuries.
The selectors also named India's left-arm paceman Zaheer Khan in the Mumbai side. Along with Sachin and Zaheer, other Indian Test hopefuls Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane too are included. Ramesh Powar, who has played for India earlier (In fact he replaced Harbhajan in the 2007 England ODI series), is also there in the squad.
England open their tour with a three-day practice match against India 'A' in Mumbai on October 30. It will be followed by two more warm-up games before the four-Test series starts in Ahmedabad on November 15.
The tourists, who also play two Twenty20 internationals on the first leg of their tour, will go home for Christmas and return for a five-match one-day series starting on January 11.
Mumbai squad: Ajit Agarkar (captain), Sachin Tendulkar, Zaheer Khan, Ramesh Powar, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Abhishek Nayar, Kaustubh Pawar, Dhaval Kulkarni, Ankit Chavan, Iqbal Abdullah, Aditya Tare, Akhil Herwadkar.
Coach: Sulakshan Kulkarni
(With AFP inputs)