Rahul, Mayank likely for Mushtaq Ali quarters

Rahul, Mayank likely for Mushtaq Ali quarters

KL Rahul (right). DH FILE PHOTO

Star Karnataka batsmen KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal are likely to feature in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy if Karnataka enter the knockout stage of the T20 tournament. The Karnataka State Cricket Association’s (KSCA) senior selection committee will pick the squad for the competition on Sunday.  

The BCCI has allowed teams to pick a 20-member squad instead of the regular 15 keeping in mind the possible need of extra players due to the prevailing Covid-19 situation. The selection panel is set to name an 18-member squad, keeping the remaining two slots for Rahul and Mayank, who are currently with the Indian team playing Australia in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

Both, the preliminary stage of Mushtaq Ali and the four-match Test series Down Under, are scheduled to finish on January 19. Teams qualified for the quarterfinals will move to Ahmedabad from their respective venues on January 20. Following three Covid tests and two days for practice, the last-eight matches begin from January 26.

It remains to be seen if Rahul and Mayank get exempted from quarantining since they are travelling to India from a bio-secure environment. The KSCA are awaiting Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to get clarity on this aspect.

Pandey to miss

Karnataka skipper Manish Pandey will miss the tournament due to a tennis elbow on his left arm. Earlier this month, the right-hand batsman didn’t feature in the remaining two T20Is against Australia after the opener due to the injury.   

Pandey’s absence will be a big blow to Karnataka, who will be gunning for their third straight title. It was under Pandey’s captaincy that Karnataka won their first-ever Mushtaq Ali title in 2018-19 when the Southern powerhouse beat Maharashtra by eight wickets in Indore. The experienced campaigner scored 314 runs in another successful run as Karnataka edged Tamil Nadu by one run in the final in Surat to defend their title. 

Alur to host matches

The KSCA have decided to host the Group stage games of the tournament at Alur grounds on the outskirts of the city. Starting from January 10, the KSCA will host three Elite A games at Alur 1, 2, and 3 respectively. Karnataka are placed in Elite A and will face Jammu and Kashmir in the tournament’s lung-opener.