Tamil Nadu have started their Ranji Trophy campaign on a rather tepid note, earning four points from their opening two drawn games against relatively weaker opponents such as Andhra Pradesh and Tripura. They will be eyeing a turnaround in their third Group C encounter against Mumbai at the BKC Ground on Tuesday. Thankfully, they will be bolstered by the return of their prolific and seasoned opener Murali Vijay, who had to sit out of the previous game due to a stiff neck. Baba Aparajith’s, Tamil Nadu’s middle-order mainstay, too returns to the fold as he was part of the India A squad that locked horns against New Zealand A in Vijayawada.
Meanwhile, all-rounder Vijay Shankar, who was in a rich vein of form against New Zealand A, too returns to the fold. That apart, they also have experienced off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin in their ranks. On paper, Tamil Nadu does look a formidable unit. Captain Abhinav Mukund put things in perspective when he said:
“Having (Ashwin) in the side is a big value addition and you can always rely on him to come up with something special considering his experience at the international level,” Mukund observed.
Mumbai, who earned three points from their opening game against Madhya Pradesh will be bolstered by the return of captain Aditya Tare, Shreyas Iyer, who has earned a call-up to the India T20 team, and talented youngster Prithvi Shaw, along with veteran Dhawal Kulkarni.
Karnataka lock horns with Andhra
Karnataka face Hyderabad in a Ranji Trophy Group ‘A’ encounter, hoping to capitalise on their rival’s lack of match play after rains washed out their last two games. The focus would be on Karnataka’s stylish batsman KL Rahul and young paceman Mohammed Siraj of Hyderabad. While Rahul has been picked again in the India T20 side for the series against New Zealand after being dropped for the ODIs, Siraj has earned a maiden call-up to the national (T20) squad. Karnataka are second in the group behind Delhi with 7 points. For the home team, India discard Karun Nair would aim to make an impression, especially after he shone with a knock of 78 against New Zealand for Board President’s XI. Karnataka’s batting appears formidable with the presence of Ravikumar Samarth and Krishnappa Gowtham, who scored centuries against Assam. Skipper R Vinay Kumar leads a potent Karnataka attack that also includes Abhimanyu Mithun, S Aravind and leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal, apart from Gowtham, and could prove quite a handful for the Hyderabad batsmen.
(With inputs from PTI)