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    Irani Trophy: Chance for rejects, aspirants to impress selectors

    The Ranji Trophy winners Mumbai will take on Rest of India led by Virender Sehwag.

    Mumbai: The five-day Irani Trophy match between Mumbai and the Rest of India (ROI), commencing at the Wankhede Stadium here on Wednesday, offers a good chance for some India rejects to press for recalls and other aspirants to showcase their talent in front of the national selectors.

    The ROI, led by one-day discard Virender Sehwag, has a good all-round team on paper and the list includes Harbhajan Singh and Sreesanth, two players eager for India call-ups after being ejected out of the team on basis of form or fitness or both.

    The rest outfit also contains openers Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay either of who can open with Sehwag and push for berths in the Test team to take on Australia later this month.

    Vijay was the third opener for the lost Test series against England without playing a game while Dhawan could force his way in with a solid display as replacement for under-performing Delhi mate Gautam Gambhir.

    Sehwag, a certainty for the opening Test at Chennai from February 22, would also be eager to get among the runs against a good Mumbai attack spearheaded by Dhawal Kulkarni after being cold-shouldered for the one-day series against England.

    Mumbai will be led by Abhishek Nayar, a top pick in Sunday's IPL auction by Pune Warriors India, in the absence of the injured Ajit Agarkar.

    There is the consistent domestic performer Wasim Jaffer also in the mix of openers though the 34-year-old campaigner last played for India in a Test at Kanpur five years ago against South Africa.

    There are also middle-order aspirants from both sides, with Mumbai opener Ajinkya Rahane too in the lot after being chosen by the selectors as a middle order batsman in the team which played against England in the four-Test rubber.

    The others include Suresh Raina and Manoj Tiwari, from the Rest ranks, and Rohit Sharma from Mumbai.

    Senior batsman Sachin Tendulkar, who figured in Mumbai's knockout run to the Ranji crown, would get another chance to get into the groove for the Australia series after being run out cheaply in the final against Saurashtra.

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