Two men vying for the same slot in India’s white-ball setup come face to face over the next four days in a game to be played with the red ball.
How Ishan Kishan, fresh from his stunning double hundred in the third ODI against Bangladesh at Chattogram, and Sanju Samson will perform in the Group C match between Jharkhand and Kerala in the Ranji Trophy tournament, which opens on Tuesday, would be followed with interest. There is at least another batter whose stint at the wicket will also be keenly observed.
Kerala’s opener Rohan Kunnummal, who had announced his return to First Class cricket by slamming three hundreds in as many innings in the 2021-22 season of the Ranji Trophy in Rajkot earlier this year, is one of the most talked about young batters in domestic cricket. After knocking off hundreds in the Duleep Trophy and the Vijay Hazare Trophy, the 24-year-old also earned a call-up to the India A team for the Bangladesh tour.
The Kerala team management must be hoping Rohan and Sanju to deliver, especially in the absence of the former’s opening partner P. Rahul and Vathsal Govind, who are both unwell.
“But we have enough bench strength to overcome their absence,” Kerala coach Tinu Yohannan told Sportstar. “By recalling the vastly experienced Rohan Prem (after a couple of years), we have another option at the top of the order.”
Kerala attack, featuring the likes of seamer Basil Thampi and spinners Jalaj Saxena and Sijomon Joseph, has its task cut out against the strong Jharkhand batting line-up that includes captain Virat Singh and Saurabh Tiwary. Experienced left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem will lead the bowling attack, which also features seamers Sushant Mishra and Rahul Shukla.
“I think it will be keenly a contested match,” said Jharkhand’s batting coach Satish Singh. “Both the teams are quite balanced. And we are delighted that Ishan joined the team on Monday evening.”
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