Dravid to lead against Punjab

Dravid to lead against Punjab

The former Indian skipper had been in charge for Karnataka’s opening two games of the season, against Uttar Pradesh in Meerut and Delhi in New Delhi, before leaving for national duties. Robin Uthappa had stepped in to assume the leadership role in Dravid’s absence.

With the right-handed ace available till at least the semifinals -- the first Test against Bangladesh begins in Chittagong on January 17, and the five-day Ranji final is due to begin on January 11 -- the State selectors have opted to go with Dravid’s proven captaincy skills as a young Karnataka side attempts to get past the quarterfinal stage.

Karnataka had gone down to Saurashtra in last year’s last-eight stage at the Brabourne stadium in Mumbai. The selectors left out experienced all-rounder B Akhil and off-spinner Ryan Ninan from the 15-man squad that did duty in Karnataka’s last Super League fixture against Saurashtra last week, bringing back Dravid and left-arm spinner Sunil Joshi, who had been rested for the Rajkot game. Karnataka will make at least three changes to the eleven which won in Rajkot by six wickets, with Dravid, Joshi and paceman R Vinay Kumar certain to take the field. It is expected that Stuart Binny, KP Appanna and Udit Patel will be the ones that will sit out.

The squad: Rahul Dravid (capt), Robin Uthappa, KB Pawan, Amit Verma, Manish Pandey, CM Gautam, Ganesh Satish, Sunil B Joshi, R Vinay Kumar, A Mithun, S Aravind, Stuart Binny, Udit Patel, KP Appanna, Aditya Sagar. Coach: K Sanath Kumar. Assistant coach: Somashekar Shiraguppi. Manager: R Ananth. Physio: V Muthu Kumar. Trainer: Ramakanth. Video analyst: Prasanna.

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