The Karnail Singh Stadium pitch has changed colours. The usually brown and dusty strip has given way to a greenish tinge for the Railways Ranji opener against Gujarat in a Elite Group A game. And so the tried-and-tested team combination on this wicket has also changed.
For the November 1-4 encounter,Railways,led by Murali Kartik,has included four seamers in the bowling attack. Shailender Gehlot and Krishnakant Upadhyay are likely to share the new ball with veterans Sanjay Bangar and JP Yadav being the second-change bowlers. Kartik will operate as the sole specialist spinner.
Over the years,the unpredictability of this pitch has been the only constant. Fast bowlers of both touring and home teams,have been left hapless on the slow and low track. The spinners too have struggled at times.
Though Railways is banking on their pacemen to fire,the pitch,which looks green,but has a history of being slow and low,means it is always best to have options at hand. All-rounder M Suresh,who also bowls leg spin,can come in handy if the need be.
Both teams were convinced that the track for their opening match will provide batsmen a stern test.
Railways coach Abhay Sharma said,We have tried to make a green wicket for this match. Now its up to the batsmen to work hard and make runs, Sharma said.
Gujarat skipper Parthiv Patel seems far more convinced. Its a green top and has cracks on it. It would definitely assist fast bowlers for sure, he said.
Gujarat too will be pace heavy with seasoned pro Sidhharth Trivedi leading the line up. But off-spinner Mohnish Parmar,who has worked on his action after he was censured last year for chucking,may miss out. We havent decided on Parmar as Salil is our No.1 spinner as of now, Patel added.