Mumbai: All eyes will be on Sachin Tendulkar and Zaheer Khan as Mumbai start their Ranji Trophy campaign against the Railways at the Wankhede Stadium here Friday.
It will be ideal practice for the two veterans ahead of the four-match Test series against England beginning Nov 15.
Pacer Ajit Agarkar, for the first time in his 16-year career, will lead a strong looking Mumbai side which flaunts names like Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Ramesh Powar and Abhishek Nayar.
For Agarkar, it has been a total recall after he withdrew from the team last season following his exclusion from the playing XI for a Ranji Trophy match against Orissa. But earlier this year, he sorted out his differences with the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA).
Agarkar, who has been named the captain for the first four matches, takes over the team from Wasim Jaffer, who has asked for leave for Haj pilgrimage.
The Railways, on the other hand, lack the star power that their opponents possess. They will have to rely on old warhorses like Sanjay Bangar and Murali Karthik.
The Railways team had an abysmal run last season, finishing second last in their group. Of the seven matches played, they managed to win just one and drew three games. Only Orissa had a worse record then, failing to win even a single game.
In contrast, Mumbai topped their group, winning three and drawing four games. However, Mumbai failed to get the better of a strong Tamil Nadu team, going down to them in the semi-finals.
Suryakumar Yadav was the surprise package for Mumbai last time around and would look to impress once again. The talented all-rounder amassed 754 runs in nine matches at an average of 68.54.