Having gone through a poor run for his state in the last few seasons, veteran player Suresh Raina has been replaced by young Akshdeep Nath as Uttar Pradesh's Captain for the upcoming Ranji Trophy season.
Although Raina's services have been persisted with for limited overs format competitions - Vijay Hazare 50-overs and Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 - being sacked from leading his state in the premier Indian first-class competition, despite having had a substantial career for the country at the highest level, comes as a huge blow.
While Raina managed just 105 runs in 9 innings at a poor average of 11.66 last Ranji season, emerging talent Akshdeep scored 387 runs at an average of 43.00 and became one of the highest run-getter for UP.
Raina isn't going through a very good phase with his cricketing career for sure, he struggled in the limited overs leg of the tour in England and with Ambati Rayudu clearing the Yo-Yo Test, he was subsequently dropped from the squad for the Asia Cup in UAE.
Now though, the Vijay Hazare Trophy starting September 19 becomes absolutely vital for Raina, to keep himself in contention for a World Cup spot next year.
UP opens up their account with a tussle against Saurashtra on September 19 and then plays Chattisgarh on September 21. The North India giants then face Odisha (September 23), Delhi (September 24), Hyderabad (September 28), Madhya Pradesh (September 30), Kerala (October 4) and Andhra Pradesh (October 6) in their next matches. The Knock-out phase of the important event begins October 14.
The Ranji Trophy 2018-19 starts off on November 1.
(Inputs from Times Now)