Agarwal, Gowtham boost Karnataka

WELCOME NEWS The return of Mayank Agarwal will strengthen Karnataka’s batting. FILE PIC

Karnataka tasted their first defeat of the season in the previous game but their confidence will be boosted by the return of Mayank Agarwal and K Gowtham as they take on Gujarat in their fifth Group A Ranji Trophy game in Surat from Friday. 

Agarwal and Gowtham, who featured in India A’s tour of New Zealand, will be playing their first Ranji game of the season. Karnataka, who went down by 87 runs against Saurashtra last week, will hope for the attacking opener and the off-spinning all-rounder to deliver in the crucial game.

R Vinay Kumar’s men however will miss the services of Karun Nair and Manish Pandey. Nair, who suffered a thumb injury, has been ruled out for at least two weeks. Pandey, who led India A to series victory in the limited overs format in New Zealand, hasn’t reached the country yet, KSCA secretary Sudhakar Rao said.

“He isn’t available for this game. He will be travelling with the national team for the upcoming ODI series against Australia so maybe he needs some rest. But he should be ready for the next game,” Rao said on Thursday. 

Karnataka are placed eighth in the combined (Group A & B) table with 12 points from four games. Gujarat are lying third with 17 points from five games, including two wins.

Gujarat, the 2016-17 champions, edged the mighty Mumbai in a thrilling contest two rounds ago. But having conceded the innings lead in their previous game against Railways, Gujarat cannot afford to be complacent.

The hosts, led by the in-form opener Priyank Panchal, appear a settled unit. On the bowling front, they will look for the seasoned Piyush Chawla and medium pacer Chintan Gaja to come good.

Squads: Karnataka: R Vinay Kumar R (captain), Shreyas Gopal (vice-captain), D Nischal, KV Siddharth, R Samarth, Mayank Agarwal, Devdutt Padikkal, Sharath B R (wicketkeeper), J Suchith,  , A Mithun, Ronit More, Pavan Deshpande, K Gowtham, Prateek Jain. 

Gujarat: Priyank Panchal (captain), Manprit Juneja, Rujul Bhatt, Rush Kalaria, Het Patel, Dhruv Raval (wk), Chintan Gaja, Karan Patel, Mehul Patel, Piyush Chawla, Kathan Patel, Siddharth Desai, Arzan Nagwaswalla, Bhargav Merai and Hardik Patel.. 

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