Goud confident young guns will fire

ALL IS WELL: Karnataka coach Yere Goud is hoping young guns will step up to the plate and deliver in the absence of senior players. DH Photo/ Srikanta Sharma R

When the All-India Senior Selection Committee announced the squads late last month for the upcoming tour of Australia and India A tour of New Zealand, there was elation in Karnataka because as many as six players were selected. But new state coach Yere Goud may have had mixed emotions.

While he would have been delighted to see players like Mayank Agarwal, R Samarth and K Gowtham get their reward for their consistent performances in the domestic circuit, he would also be missing their services for the better part of the Ranji Trophy group campaign.

Goud, who played a combined 134 first-class matches for Karnataka and Railways, however was unperturbed by their absence. "I see it as a season of opportunities. Yes, we will be missing key players, we will miss their experience but we have players who can take that responsibility," said the 46-year-old from Raichur.

"We are short on experience but we have players like D Nischal, KV Siddharth, (Shishir) Bhavane... we have some experience there. It will be a challenge but I see it as an opportunity. We are looking at guys who have performed for the U-23s, guys like Devdutt Padikkal. It's a long tournament, we have 8 games -- so in the middle of the tournament, if somebody is doing well for the U-23s, we'll give him an opportunity here. We're looking at U-19 too."

Goud felt the key would be not to put too much pressure on the youngsters. "Important for us to give the youngsters confidence. Performance alone does not matter. How you are going to approach the game also matters. If you put them under pressure to perform, they may not do well. We will not give them just one or two opportunities, we'll give them four or five."

Karnataka will be hit hard on the bowling front too. Prasidh M Krishna, who was expected to play a key role, has been selected for the Emerging Teams Asia Cup next month while fellow talented pacer T Pradeep has been ruled out for the group stage after suffering a back injury. Off-spinning all-rounder Gowtham will also be missed but Goud was confident the back-up acts will deliver.

"We have back-up bowlers like Prateek Jain and HS Sharath who have done reasonably well in the K Thimmappiah memorial tournament and whatever practice games we have had. Ronit More has come back into the side. (Abhimanyu) Mithun is an experienced bowler. We're looking at the State U-23 side also, where we have bowlers like Vyshak Vijay Kumar and Aditya Somanna and others. If they do well there, they may get an opportunity to play for the senior side.

"Shreyas (Gopal) is experienced now. He's played a lot of games, he's played for India A as well. (J) Suchith is doing reasonably well in whatever games we have played. I think both are ready to handle the pressure."

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Goud confident young guns will fire

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