Ranji Trophy: Back on track, Basil Thampi means business

Basil Thampi's return to form could not have come at a better time for Kerala, which is struggling to keep its hopes alive in the Ranji Trophy.

Published : Jan 01, 2020 19:42 IST , KOZHIKODE

Kerala's Basil Thampi scalped five wickets.
Kerala's Basil Thampi scalped five wickets.

Kerala's Basil Thampi scalped five wickets.

Basil Thampi scalped a five-for against Gujarat at the Lalbhai Contractor Stadium in Surat last week.
He seemed to be back at his best, as he troubled the Gujarat batsmen with his pace and a bit of movement as well. Earlier, he was pitching it short too often, but when he began to bowl fuller, he was a different bowler. Among those impressed by his performance at the stadium, was chief selector M.S.K. Prasad.

It's a different story that Kerala lost the match. But Thampi's return to form could not have come at a better time for a team which is struggling to keep its hopes alive in the tournament. More so, when the main strike bowler, Sandeep Warrier, is set to miss the last half of Kerala's campaign in the league phase.
“Yes, his absence will be a challenge to me,” Thampi told Sportstar  over phone from Hyderabad, where Kerala will play its fourth match from Friday.

“We are all happy that he will be playing for the India A team in New Zealand. The team will miss him, and I especially will miss bowling along with him.”

Exchanging roles

Thampi said his bowling partnership with Warrier was mutually beneficial. “We work as a team,” he said. “We will exchange the roles of the wicket-taker and the containing bowler according to the situation.”
Looking back at the spell in Surat, he said it felt great to take a five-wicket haul in only his second match of the season. “I began the year with a five-wicket haul and ended with one,” he said. “And both came against Gujarat.”

Looking forward to the match against Hyderabad, Thampi was delighted to be back at his home away from home — the base of his IPL team, Sunrisers Hyderabad. “It felt nice to practise at the stadium,” he said. “Yes, I have been thinking about the IPL, but before that I have to give my best for Kerala for the rest of the season.”

He said Kerala still has chances to qualify. “Last year we had lost three matches,” he said. “We are confident that we can turn things around.”

He admitted the team would miss the batting of Sanju Samson, who has been picked for India's T20I squad against Sri Lanka. “But fortunately, Rohan Prem has joined the team,” he said. “His experience and technique could make up for Sanju's absence.”

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