Jaipur: Defending champions and hosts Rajasthan were dealt a blow ahead of their crucial Ranji Trophy Elite group A match against Uttar Pradesh when captain Hrishikesh Kanitkar was ruled out due to a shoulder injury.

Kanitkar has aggravated his shoulder injury he had sustained while fielding in the last match against Mumbai and would have to sit out of the game starting on Tuesday at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium.

He was uncomfortable during the practice session yesterday and opted out fearing a longer lay off.

In his absence Ashok Menaria would lead the hosts who are looking to bounce back after three successive draws.

Rajasthan, who had surprised in the previous season by clinching the title after starting from bottom of the plate group, have only three points so far.

Their batting has clicked with Kanitkar, Menaria and Vineet Saxena among the runs but their biggest worry has been Deepak Chahar who has not been able to get wickets despite bowling a good line and length.

Veteran Pankaj Singh too has not been very impressive and Rajasthan have conceded first innings lead in all three matches.

The bowlers have failed to contain the opposition despite having a 500-plus score against Railways and Mumbai.

The visitors Uttar Pradesh are sitting pretty with nine points and a third place in the tally after their three outings. They have a sound batting line up led by Parminder Singh who has some big scores under his belt.

Veteran Mohammad Kaif, Tanmay Srivastav, Eklavya Dwivedi, Prashant Gupta and the rest are also capable of putting tall scores.

The bowling department too has the experienced RP Singh, Sudeep Tyagi while Piyush Chawla too is a wily customer.

(Agencies)