This will be the first time Dhawal Kulkarni will be leading Mumbai. @ IANS
This will be the first time Dhawal Kulkarni will be leading Mumbai. @ IANS

Mumbai pacer Dhawal Kulkarni will lead the side in the next two games of the Vijay Hazare Trophy as skipper Ajinkya Rahane and other regulars – Shreyas Iyer and Prithvi Shaw – will be busy with the Board President’s XI (BPXI) and national team duties.

Rahane is part of the India squad that faces West Indies in a two-match Test series beginning in Rajkot on October 4, while Iyer and Shaw will be part of the BPXI that will face the West Indies in Baroda on September 28.

“Dhawal has been bowling really well. He’s a focused and disciplined player. He’s a senior, experienced player, and I expect Aditya Tare and Suryakumar Yadav (both former captains) to help him out. We’re playing well as a unit,” Mumbai coach Vinayak Samant told the Times of India.

“For us, the real competition starts now. We’ll miss three of our top players, and we play some tough teams from here,” he added.

Meanwhile, Mumbai’s Elite Group A match against Vidarbha was abandoned due to rain at Alur on Monday with both sides walking away with two points. The 41-time Ranji champions have been on a roll this tournament, having won their first three games against Baroda, Karnataka and Railways. They next face Punjab on Friday (September 28) and Himachal on Sunday (September 30) where Kulkarni will be leading Mumbai for the first time.

According to the report, opener Akhil Herdwadkar and middle-order batsman Shubham Ranjane will replace Rahane and Iyer, while no replacement has been announced for Shaw.