Hyderabad’s new captain and opener Tanmay Agarwal has a daunting task to ensure a good start to the Ranji Trophy season when his team takes on Gujarat in the opener at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium here on Monday.

In the backdrop of the recent ripples crated by India cricketer Ambati Rayudu’s controversial comments on corruption and selection in HCA which saw him opt out of the State squad and pave way for Tanmay to lead the team, it will be interesting how the team performs as a collective unit on home ground.

Hyderabad coach N. Arjun Yadav said what happened is past and every member of the team has to look ahead. “Let us focus on the task on hand which is to have a decent start to the Ranji campaign and make full use of the match being played at home after a 10-day preparatory camp,” he says.

“I must say Hyderabad failed to make to the knock-out phase in both Vijay Hazare Trophy and Syed Mushtaq Ali tournaments on run-rate. So, it is not that we played bad cricket. We were unlucky,” he said.

The coach also believes it is a good opportunity for Tanmay to be the captain and face the challenge appropriately. “He is a fighter and is a pretty seasoned campaigner,” he felt.

Pitch Talk

The coach also hinted that with the pitch likely to assist fast bowlers on the first two days, the home team will prefer three pacers, who he feels are his strength, and two spinners.

“Well, if we win the toss, we would love to bat first,” Arjun insisted.

For his part, Gujarat coach Sairaj Bahutule said that experienced Parthiv Patel will be missing the first match because of a niggle but will join the team for the other games.

“But, we have balance and depth in the side in all departments which should hold in good stead,” he said.

“A new team and the opening game is always an important game to start the season. We have quite a few players who can change the course of the game like Priyank Panchal, Juneja, Piyush Chawla, Axar Patel to name a few,” he said.

The pitch looks good, fair and might turn on the fourth day and we are aware that Hyderabad will be raring to have a go at us but we are ready for the fight, Sairaj said.

The teams (from): Hyderabad: Tanmay Agarwal (capt), P. Akshath Reddy, K. Rohit Rayudu, B. Sandeep (vice-capt), Himalay Agarwal, K. Sumanth (wk), Mehdi Hasan, Saketh Sai Ram, M. Ravi Kiran, Mohammed Siraj, Chama Milind, Tanay Thyagarajan, G.A. Shashidhar Reddy, Yudhvir Singh, J. Mallikarjun and Sravan Kumar. Coach: N. Arjun Yadav. Bowling coach: N.P. Singh. Fielding coach: Shashank Nag.

Gujarat: Piyush Chawla, Manprit Juneja, Roosh Kalaria, Axar Patel, Priyank Panchal (c), Bhargav Merai, Urvil Patel(w), Rujul Bhatt, Samit Gohel, Dhruv Raval, Chintan Gaja, Kshitij Patel, Arzan Nagwaswalla, Kathan Patel, Tejas Patel