Karnataka keen to get their act right

Karnataka keen to get their act right

Hosts look to garner full points against Orissa

Karnataka keen to get their act right

Master and Pupil: Former India pace spearhead Javagal Srinath (right) offers tips to  Karnataka paceman A Mithun (centre) on Tuesday. DH photo/ Srikanta Sharma R

Soon, youngsters thronged around him for a piece of advice and Javagal Srinath did not disappoint them either, spending over an hour talking to the players and even sending down a few overs.

Perhaps, the interaction with Srinath, former India pacer and the newly elected secretary of the Karnataka State Cricket Association, was the tonic Karnataka team needed ahead of their Ranji Trophy match against Orissa, beginning at the Chinnaswamy stadium here on Wednesday.

This is not to say that the hosts are about to drown in an ocean of trouble, but conceding innings lead to Haryana at Rohtak has somewhat tempered down the joy of scoring an outright win in their opening match against Punjab at Mohali. Now, they need a forceful effort against Shib Sundar Das-led Orissa in what would be Karnataka’s first home match of the season.

There are numerous comforting factors for Karnataka ahead of this potentially tricky encounter. Robin Uthappa has showed glimmers of form that earned him a place in the Indian team a few years ago and his hundred against Punjab was a statement of his touch. Ganesh Satish, who will lead the side in the absence of R Vinay Kumar, openers KL Rahul and KB Pawan and the explosive Manish Pandey have came up with good knocks at various stages of the last two matches.

With the match to be held on a familiar terrain, nothing short of a big effort with the bat is expected of them. However, it will be naive to take Orissa lightly as they have a bowling attack capable of effecting some rude shocks.

Baroda will offer a testimony to that as the western Indian team was bundled out for sub-par 148 in their season opener at Cuttack. Right-arm pace bowler Basanth Mohanty took five wickets to rattle Baroda then.

With the weather remaining nippy and a green tinge lacing the Chinnaswamy stadium deck, Basanth and his veteran team-mate Debasish Mohanty, former India pacer, will be keen to enter the field. 

Karnataka too have a strong attack but the absence of Vinay will be a bodyblow for last year’s finalists. The right-arm pacer will be joining the Indian squad for the five-match one-day series against New Zealand, beginning at Guwahati on November 28.

Vinay’s five-wicket haul had played a crucial role in Karnataka’s crushing eight-wicket win over Punjab and his ability to contribute some vital runs lower down the order too will be missed against Orissa. Promising Mysore all-rounder Aditya B Sagar will come in for Vinay in the eleven. However, even without Vinay, Karnataka have an attack that could trouble the best. Abhimanyu Mithun and left-arm pace-man Sreenath Arvind can be a hostile force under any conditions. Mithun, though in good form in the last two matches, has not been able to take wickets in a heap as he had done throughout the last season and the pacer will be eager to set the record right here with a strong effort.

The home side also has the luxury of resorting to the experience of Sunil Joshi. The veteran left-arm spinner has recently entered an exclusive club, completing 450 wickets and 4000 runs in Ranji Trophy and the achievement should spur Joshi to come up with a special effort in his own turf. But taking the Orissa batsmen could push Karnataka down the road to perdition.

Apart from the experienced Das, the visitors have 19-year old Govind Podder, who made a hundred against Baroda, opener Natraj Behera and Rakesh Mohanty in their ranks who can produce big scores. They will also be keen to make amends for a paltry batting effort that resulted in them conceding innings lead against Uttar Pradesh in their last match. So, brace up for an intriguing match!

TEAMS: KARNATAKA: Ganesh Satish (Captain), KB Pawan, KL Rahul, Robin Uthappa, Manish Pandey, CM Gautam, Amit Verma, Sunil Joshi, A Mithun, S Arvind, Aditya B Sagar, Stuart Binny, Udit Patel, SL Akshay, Azghar Pasha.

ORISSA: Shib Sundar Das (Captain), Natraj Behera, Niranjan Behera, Sudip Biswal, Rakesh Kishore Mohanty, Biplab Samantray, Govinda Podder, Basanta Mohanty, Debashish Mohanty, Alok Sahoo, Bikash S Pati, Subhrajit D Sahoo, Paresh Patil, Ansuman Gope, Santosh Jena, Dhirajkumar Singh.

Umpires: SL Shastri, PG Pathak; Match Referee: Atul Bedade.
Timing: 9.30 am onwards.

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