The second round Ranji Trophy Group B tie between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to be played at Chepauk from Friday promises to be an exciting fare with both teams keen to garner full points. Both teams managed just one point from their previous round. Karnataka could not overhaul Baroda’s total and conceded the lead, while the Tamil Nadu vs Odisha tie got washed out due to rain as the teams split points.
Looking at both the teams closely one can fathom that the match will be a contest between Tamil Nadu’s batting strength versus Karnataka’s bowling might.
TN go in to the match without opener Murali Vijay and off spinner R Ashwin, who are part of the Indian team s to play England in the first Test at Ahmedabad. But TN captain Lakshmipathy Balaji sounded optimistic. “We have a balanced side, which is a mixture of youth and experience. Vijay being picked for the National squad is a big honour and we are proud of it. I believe the absence of Vijay and Ashwin gives the youngsters an opportunity to make a mark in the side,” said Balaji. “Tthe contest will be as competitive as all TN vs Karnataka ties have been in the past. Whoever plays good cricket and is consistent over the period for four days is bound to perform well,” added Balaji.
Balaji is aware of Karnataka’s bowling strength (Vinay Kumar, Abhimanyu Mithun, KP Appanna, Stuart Binny), and the visitors having a couple of players with international experience. “We are aware of our strength and that of the opposition. But you see the conditions are different (from Karnataka’s match in Baroda). You have to earn each and every wicket, you cannot get purchase just on reputation alone. We are aware of this and we have good resources to tackle the opposition,” said Balaji.
It looks like KB Arun Karthick will open the innings with Abhinav Mukund. Off spinner R Malolan, who has come in place of Ashwin, may get the nod and Aushik Srinivas too will come in place of a seamer. J Abhiram, chairman of the state selection committee of KSCA, expected a better show from Karnatakia . “In the last match poor batting and fielding let us down. I expect a better show from our boys this time around. The team will be more or less the same which played in the previous game. A big hundred from Manish Pandey and Robin Uthappa is due and they should come good in this game,” opined Abhiram. The former Karnataka bowler was also pleased the way Stuart Binny bowled in the last game against Baroda and hopes that the youngster would perform well again. The wicket has a tinge of grass and should be a sporting one offering something for the seamers too.