Ranji Trophy 2023-24: Formidable Uttar Pradesh awaits Samson’s Kerala in first round

Ranji Trophy 2023-24: Kerala faces a formidable foe in former champion Uttar Pradesh in the opening match of the campaign at the SD College ground.

Published : Jan 04, 2024 19:02 IST , Alappuzha - 2 MINS READ

FILE PHOTO: Sanju Samson will lead Kerala in the Ranji Trophy this season.
FILE PHOTO: Sanju Samson will lead Kerala in the Ranji Trophy this season. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement
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FILE PHOTO: Sanju Samson will lead Kerala in the Ranji Trophy this season. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

After the high of the 2018-19 season, during which it entered the semifinals of the Ranji Trophy for the first time, Kerala hasn’t qualified for the knockout stage of the premier cricket tournament.

During the same period, Kerala earned a reputation as a dangerous side, capable of upsetting top teams, in T20 and limited-overs cricket and entered the knockout rounds consistently in both Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and Vijay Hazare Trophy competitions.

A new Ranji Trophy season beckons and under the new coach M. Venkatramana, Kerala will be looking to replicate its recent success in white-ball cricket in the longer format.

ALSO READ | Coach Ravi Teja at helm as Hyderabad eyes return to Ranji Trophy Elite Group

The former India spinner is confident that Kerala can buck the trend if the team displays the required consistency and self-belief during the course of the tournament.

However, Kerala faces a formidable foe in former champion Uttar Pradesh in the opening match of the campaign at the SD College ground, which is hosting a Ranji Trophy match for the first time, on Friday.

Ironically, Uttar Pradesh is also striving to realise its full potential in red-ball cricket after an underwhelming performance in the Ranji Trophy in the last couple of seasons.

FILE PHOTO: Aryan Juyal (R) will captain Uttar Pradesh.
FILE PHOTO: Aryan Juyal (R) will captain Uttar Pradesh. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement
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FILE PHOTO: Aryan Juyal (R) will captain Uttar Pradesh. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Uttar Pradesh, with Indian stars Rinku Singh, Kuldeep Yadav, the latest IPL sensation Sameer Rizvi, along with seasoned cricketers Ankit Rajpoot and Saurabh Kumar, will be a tough opponent for the host.

Kerala coach Venkataramana refused to be intimidated by UP’s star cast and said his team has enough firepower and ability to take on the might of its rival. “If I look at the strength and ability of my team I do believe we have the potential and the skills to do well. In Sanju Samson, Sachin Baby and Rohan Prem we have experienced batters. Our bowlers are good and the focus will be on winning the sessions. If we can do that consistently we can beat anyone. It is important for us to begin the campaign on a positive note,’‘ he said.

ALSO READ | Ravi Bishnoi keen to break limited-over specialist tag with success in Ranji Trophy

The UP camp is aware of Kerala’s capability and expects a tough fight from the host. “Kerala is a good side and we expect them to come at us hard but we are well prepared to deal with any situation, “ said UP captain Aryan Juyal.

The teams
Kerala: Sanju Vishwanadh Samson (captain), Rohan S Kunnummal, Krishna Prasad, Anand Krishnan, Rohan Prem, Sachin Baby, Vishnu Vinod, Akshay Chandran, Shreyas Gopal, Jalaj Saxena, Vaishak Chandran, Basil Thampi, Vishweshwar A Suresh, M.D. Nidheesh, N.P. Basil and Vishnu Raj.
Uttar Pradesh: Aryan Juyal (captain), Madhav Kaushik, Samarth Singh, Karan Sharma, Prince Yadav, Rinku Singh, Sameer Rizvi, Dhruv Jurel, Akshdeep Nath, Priyam Garg, Yash Dayal, Kuldeep Yadav, Ankit Rajpoot, Kartik Tyagi and Saurabh Kumar.

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