Ranji Trophy 2019-20: Siraj-sans Hyderabad braces up to face Andhra

In Mohd. Siraj's absence, the onus will be on the pace trio of Ravi Kiran, Chama Milind and T. Ravi Teja to deliver the goods against Andhra.

C. R. Gnaneshwar has been in good form for Andhra, with two half-centuries in his last three innings.   -  C. V. Subrahmanyam

Fresh from outright wins in their previous games, both Andhra and Hyderabad will be keen to pick full points when they clash in the four-day Ranji Trophy Elite Pool match at the CSR Sarma College Ground here from Saturday.

Andhra is now third in the points table with 14 points from four matches behind leaders Punjab (18) and Karnataka (16). Hyderabad, on the other hand, is placed 14th in the 18-team group with six points from four games.

Also Read | Onerous task for struggling Kerala against Punjab

In a way, the fortunes of the two teams has so far hinged on the form of a few players only.

Having scored just 129 runs so far this season, Akshath Reddy will hope to roar back into form. Photo: V. V. Subrahmanyam

For instance, Andhra’s batting revolved around the likes of opener C. R. Gnaneshwar (236 runs), Ricky Bhui (263 runs, 2x100), vice-captain and wicketkeeper-batsman K. Srikar Bharat (229 runs, 1x100, 2x50) and captain Hanuma Vihari (227). In bowling, it relied on the efficacy of pacers K. V. Sasikanth (21 wickets), C. V. Stephen (23 wickets) and D. P. Vijay Kumar (six wickets).

Out-of-form Akshath Reddy

For Hyderabad, captain Tanmay Agarwal (253) and wicketkeeper K. Sumanth (253, 1x100, 2 x50) have been the most consistent with the bat and there has been nothing noteworthy from the others. Even the most experienced player in the squad, opener P. Akshath Reddy, has struggled this season; he has just 129 runs from four games.

“Well, we are not concerned with his form. He batted beautifully against Kerala in the second innings. We will continue to back him for he has the class and experience,” insisted captain Tanmay.

In bowling, Hyderabad will miss the services of strike bowler Mohd. Siraj, the leading wicket-taker with 17 from four games, as he will be away on India-A duty in New Zealand. In his absence, the onus to deliver will be on the pace trio of the ever-dependent Ravi Kiran, left-arm pacer Chama Milind and all-rounder T. Ravi Teja.

The Hyderabad team management prefers to wait until Saturday morning to decide whether to play with two left-arm spinners — Mehdi Hasan and Tanay Thyagarajan — or prefer one of them along with off-spinner Saaketh Sai Ram here.

The teams (from)
  • Hyderabad: Tanmay Agarwal (c), P. Akshath Reddy, J. Mallikarjun, Himalay Agarwal, Mir Jaweed Ali, K. Sumanth (wk), T. Ravi Teja, Mehdi Hasan, Saaketh Sai Ram, M. Ravi Kiran, C. V. Milind, Yudhvir Singh, Tanay Thyagrajan, Ajay Dev Goud, Rahul Bhuddi and Y. Shravan Kumar.
  • Andhra: Hanuma Vihari (c), K. S. Bharat, Ricky Bhui, D. B. Prasanth Kumar, C. R. Gnaneshwar, K. V. Sasikanth, Y. Pruthvi Raj, Ch. Stephen, G. Manish, Karan Shinde, B. Ayyappa, S. M.D. Rafi, N. Jyothi Sai Krishna, D. Naren Reddy, B. Sumanth, P. Vijay Kumar and D. Swaroop Kumar.

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