CHENNAI : Their Ranji Trophy campaign off to a poor start, Tamil Nadu expect Dinesh Karthik’s return to boost the side as they target full points against Kerala in a fifth-round match starting at MA Chidambaram Stadium on Thursday.Tamil Nadu are yet to taste victory in the tournament and lost their last game to Bengal at home by one wicket. They are in urgent need to add to their tally of five points. Kerala, too, lost their previous match. But there were plenty of positives from that game and with 13 points, they are far better placed than their rivals.
Many believe this will be a clash between the home team’s batting and Kerala’s bowling. “We have forgotten the loss to Bengal. We want to go in with a positive frame of mind when we play against Kerala. We have learnt from our mistakes and Karthik’s presence will be a big boost for us,’’ said Tamil Nadu captain B Indrajith.
Kerala know their job won’t be easy. “Tamil Nadu is a good side and one cannot take them lightly. With DK back they have a formidable line-up. We need to bowl well,’’ observed Kerala’s opener KB Arun Karthik.The pitch assisted spinners in the last match and according to Kerala skipper Sachin Baby, it won’t be any different. “It will have bounce and aid seamers initially and then the spinners. From what I saw, it will assist spinners from Day 1,’’ said the batsman.
With the experienced Abhinav Mukund at the top of the order and the likes of Karthik, B Aparajith, Indrajith and N Jagadeesan in their ranks, Tamil Nadu’s batting looks solid. But their problem is No 6, where B Anirudh has not been able to make an impact.
With Karthik back, Jagadeesan is likely to bat at No 6. “Whoever it is, he must have lots of patience and play according to the situation. He should rotate the strike and shield the weaker batsmen. In close games, every run the lower order and tail score is valuable. The No 6 will have to play a big role for us to reach the knockouts,’’ said TN’s fielding coach R Prasanna, who played in that position with distinction in the past.
Kerala have two quality fast bowers in Sandeep Warrier and Basil Thampi with an experienced spinner in Jalaj Saxena. Akshay Chandran and KC Akshay are two young spin options. “We are confident of a good show. Our attack is similar to that of Tamil Nadu. I have learnt a lot playing in Chennai and from Glenn McGrath. I am familiar with the conditions. McGrath advised me to keep it simple and stick to basics,’’ said Warrier.
Elite Group A
In Rajkot: Saurashtra vs Karnataka
Elite Group B
In Delhi: Delhi vs Andhra
In Indore: Madhya Pradesh vs Hyderabad
In Chennai: Tamil Nadu vs Kerala
Elite Group C
In Ranchi: Jharkhand vs Odisha
In Bhubaneswar: Sikkim vs Puducherry
Saurashtra vs Karnataka, Live on Star Sports 2, 9.20am onwards
Madhya Pradesh vs Hyderabad and Jharkhand vs Odisha, Live on Hotstar 9.30am onwards