'No feelings attached'

There will be no room for sentiments when Venkatesh Prasad-coached Uttar Pradesh take on his home team Karnataka in the Ranji Trophy quarterfinal clash here from Wednesday.

The former Karnataka and India paceman is in his second year as the coach of Uttar Pradesh who got the better of Karnataka when they last faced-off in Meerut. “There are no feelings attached,” said Prasad on Tuesday. “I've never felt like I'm playing against my home team because we are all professionals doing our job. It’s nice to play against Karnataka who are doing well. Hopefully we will do well too,” he remarked.

Prasad isn’t happy with BCCI’s decision to not to allow New Zealand-bound players from playing the quarters and he exuded confidence that UP had enough in their tank even without the likes of Suresh Raina and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. “Last year too we missed key players but we have the fire power to perform. The two players are on national duty and last year too we went without RP Singh and Praveen Kumar through out the season. Suresh Raina too was available only for a few matches.”

Karnataka skipper R Vinay Kumar while admitting that playing at home was a big advantage, played down team’s failure to go beyond quarters in the last two seasons. “We’re not thinking about what happened last year. It is only now when you mentioned it that I’m reminded of the defeat. Our job is only to go out there and play.”

Batting coach J Arun Kumar said the team was confident enough to break the quarterfinal jinx. “We need to break the jinx and there is confidence all around. There have been contributions from everyone. Stuart (Binny) is a big loss but we're very happy for him.”

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