Ranji Trophy 2019-20: Tamil Nadu vs Karnataka, part three

Both teams clashed in the finals of the Vijay Hazare and Syed Mushtaq Ali tournaments this season in which Karnataka prevailed on both occasions.

Karnataka players undergo training ahead of their Ranji Tropjy campaign.   -  SUDHAKARA JAIN

That little genius Gundappa Viswanath square-cutting S. Venkataraghavan with supple wrists and delicate placement or the mercurial T.E. Srinivasan dancing down to counter the magic of Erapalli Prasanna, it’s an old rivalry that brings with it intense competition, a touch of romance and countless memories.

The Ranji Trophy duel between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu is always special. The Southern Derby has got tradition, the X-factor and the zing.

Just days back, in the Syed Mushtaq Ali final, Karnataka prevailed over Tamil Nadu by a solitary run in a heart-stopping thriller.   

The famous face-off will be renewed when host Tamil Nadu meets Karnataka at the NPR-College ground in the season opening marquee Ranji clash, beginning Monday. 

It rained here on Sunday and more showers have been forecast. A cloud cover could encourage the pacemen and prevent the pitch from developing cracks. If the sun comes out, spinners could shine bright. 

The Vijay Shankar-led Tamil Nadu appears a strong side possessing internationals such as R. Ashwin, M. Vijay, Dinesh Karthik and Abhinav Mukund. 

Karnataka will be without K.L. Rahul and Manish Pandey and injured pacemen Abhimanyu Mithun and Prasidh Krishna but the Karun Nair-led side has depth and options.

Vijay Shankar will lead Tamil Nadu in the Ranji Trophy this season.   -  G. P. Sampath Kumar


Importantly, Karnataka has the run-hungry Mayank Agarwal, that top-order batsman with temperament and an array of strokes.  

Skipper Karun can also build monuments. And there is the young and aggressive Devdutt Padikkal.   

The contest between Ashwin and the Karnataka batsmen led by Karun and Mayank should be fascinating. Left-armer T. Natarajan could create the rough for Ashwin to exploit. 

For Karnataka, paceman Ronit More and the spin duo of Shreyas Gopal and K. Gowtham could pose questions.

Apart from fierce on-field clashes, the Karnataka-Tamil Nadu matches created bonds of friendship. 

Prasanna said, “Kripal Singh was a fine batsman with a sense of humour. We got along so well. And T.E Srinivasan, I still don’t know why he didn’t play more for India.”

Former Tamil Nadu captain and potent left-arm spinning all-rounder S. Vasudevan said, “Brijesh Patel, a wonderful batsman. Got him on occasions with my arm ball. We were all great friends off the field.”

Indeed, this is a rivalry for the ages.

The teams

Tamil Nadu (from): Vijay Shankar (captain), B. Aparajith, (vice-captain), M. Vijay, Abhinav Mukund, Dinesh Karthik (wk), N. Jagadeesan (wk), R. Ashwin, Sai Kishore, T. Natarajan, K. Vignesh, Abhishek Tanwar, M. Ashwin, M. Siddharth, Shahrukh Khan, K. Mukunth. 

Karnataka (from): Karun Nair (c), Mayank Agarwal, Devdutt Padikkal, D. Nischal, Pavan Deshpande, B. R. Sharath, Sharath Srinivas, Ronit More, David Mathias, V. Koushik, Shreyas Gopal, K. Gowtham, J. Suchith, R. Samarth, and K. S. Devaiah.


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