Karnataka bring in Abhishek, Avinash for title clash

Karnataka bring in Abhishek, Avinash for title clash

Karnataka effected two changes to their squad for the Ranji Trophy final match against Tamil Nadu, beginning at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Sunday.

The defending champions have brought in KC Avinash and Abhishek Reddy in place of wicket-keeper CM Gautam and Kunal Kapoor respectively in the 15-member squad that was announced here on Tuesday. Gautam was also the vice-captain of the side, and in his absence Manish Pandey has been named as R Vinay Kumar’s deputy.

Gautam had suffered a hamstring niggle during the semifinal match against Mumbai at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, and Robin Uthappa kept the wickets. Though Uthappa did a reasonable job the in the tie, time away from ’keeping was evident in his effort, prompting the team management to include a specialist stumper.

Avinash, a top-order batsman, has so far played three List A matches, with the latest one being against Hyderabad in the South Zone one-day tournament in November 2014, where he did the stumper’s duty as well. It remains to be seen whether the management actually hand the 27-year-old Malnad Gladiators player his Ranji debut in a high-pressure game like the Ranji title clash.

The 20-year-old Abhishek from Bidar is yet to play any first-class game, but Kunal’s poor outing in the semis prompted the change. Kunal, who has made 283 runs from seven matches at 31.44 with three fifties, had a wretched outing against Mumbai, scoring a 0 and 2. Abhishek can also chip in as an off-break bowler.

The move, however, seems more as a cover as Karnataka team management may give another chance to Shishir Bhavane in the final. Bhavane was impressive in the  league match against Mumbai , making a 62. But a modest outing against Assam in the quarterfinals (10 & 14 n.o.) cost him a place in the semis.

The squad: R Vinay Kumar (capt), Manish Pandey (vice-capt), Robin Uthappa, KL Rahul, R Samarth, Karun Nair, Shreyas Gopal, Shishir Bhavane, A Mithun, S Arvind, KC Avinash, Abhishek Reddy, Udit B Patel, J Suchith, HS Sharath. Batting coach: J Arun Kumar. Bowling coach: Mansur Ali Khan, Manager: B Siddaramu.

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