Karnataka set for reserves' test

Karnataka set for reserves' test

Weakened domestic champs take on Bangla 'A' ahead of Ranji title defence

Karnataka set for reserves' test

Karnataka, the reigning kings of Indian domestic cricket, will be looking to test their bench strength ahead of their title defences when they lock horns with a strong Bangladesh ‘A’ in a three-day game starting here from Tuesday.

Over the last two years, Karnataka, backed by a supremely talented generation of cricketers, have swept almost everything before them, completing an unprecedented double-treble in winning the Ranji Trophy, Irani Cup and Vijay Hazare Trophy for two successive years.

And as they resume their Ranji Trophy title defence first from October 1, Karnataka will get a perfect opportunity to fine-tune their engine and check the quality of the supporting parts as they take on a Bangladesh side brimming with plenty of international players.

Missing pieces

Thanks to their brilliant performances over the past few seasons, Karnataka will be without several players who have been instrumental in the overwhelming success. Opening batsman KL Rahul, middle-order batsmen Karun Nair and Manish Pandey and all-rounder Stuart Binny have been selected for the senior national camp that got underway in Bengaluru on Monday.

Nair and pacer Abhimanyu Mithun have been picked for the three-day game involving India ‘A’ and Bangladesh ‘A’ in Bengaluru from September 27, leaving Karnataka with just a handful of the seasoned names for the match here at the SDNR Wadiyar stadium.

Having said that, Karnataka still boast of a respectable batting order that would be keen to get some match practice in the longer format against a quality Bangladesh bowling attack that must be smarting from a 1-2 loss in the just-concluded one-dayers against India ‘A’.

Robin Uthappa, R Samarth, Mayank Agarwal and wicketkeeper CM Gautam — all integral part of the batting order last season — will be determined for a strong hit and a lot will hinge on them with big scorers Rahul and Nair missing out.

Bowling trouble

If there is one department where Karnataka look relatively weaker it is the bowling. Skipper and lead pacer R Vinay Kumar was ruled out on the eve of the clash after being struck by a bout of viral fever and his partners S Arvind and Mithun too would be missing. This means the strapping HS Sharath will have to carry bulk of the workload. Unheralded David Mathias and Prasidh M Krishna may have to share the new ball and they have to really step it up against a solid Bangladeshi batting.

Leggie Shreyas Gopal will don the lead spinner’s hat and he would want to use it as a perfect warm-up before the India ‘A’ game.

With three-day games having very little possibility of producing a result, they are normally treated as practice affairs and Bangladesh too would be keen to extract as much as they can from the two back-to-back encounters. Australia come calling next month and with many members of current team expected to take guard against the World No 2 side in Tests, they wouldn’t want to fritter way this opportunity. Also, it presents the fringe players to stake their claim for the Aussie series.

DH News Service
The squads (from): Karnataka: CM Gautam (Capt, wk), Robin Uthappa, R Samarth, Mayank Agarwal, Shreyas Gopal, Abhishek Reddy, J Suchith, Udit Patel, HS Sharath, David Mathias, D Nischal, Shishir Bhavane, Prasidh Krishna, Mitrakanth Yadav.
Bangladesh ‘A’: Mominul Haque (captain), Nasir Hossain (vice-captain), Anamul Haque Bijoy, Rony Talukdar, Liton Kumar Das (wk), Shabbir Rahaman, Soumya Sarker, Saqlain Sajib, Arafat Sunny, Rubel Hossain, Shafiul Islam, Al-Amin Hossain, Shuvagata Hom Chowdhury, Jubair Hossain, Kamrul Islam Rabbi.
Hours of play: 9.30 am to 11.30 am; 12.10 pm to 2.10 pm; 2.30 pm to close of play.

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