Ranji Trophy: Andhra hopes for turnaround against J&K

Andhra, which has just two points from its two matches in the Ranji Trophy this season, takes on a confident Jammu & Kashmir outfit in a Group C fixture at the Brabourne Stadium.

Hanuma Vihari (right) is the new Andhra captain this season.   -  V. Raju

An iconic venue and glorious weather greeted the cricketers from Andhra and Jammu & Kashmir here on Tuesday.

The Ranji Trophy Group ‘C’ match between Andhra and Jammu & Kashmir, which opens at the Brabourne Stadium, should produce some interesting cricket over the next four days.

The men from either side should be looking forward to play on a ground which has witnessed several memorable moments in Indian cricket in the eight decades of its existence. It was here that Sachin Tendulkar made his maiden first-class double hundred, which he scored for Mumbai against the touring Australians in 1997-98.

“It is indeed a great opportunity for cricketers like me to play on this ground, which has such a long and remarkable history,” said Andhra captain Hanuma Vihari. “And it would be nice if we could post our first victory of the season.”

Andhra has drawn both its two matches so far. While the match against Himachal at Bhubaneswar was ruined by rain, it was forced to follow on by Chattisgarh at Kalyani.

Andhra, thus, has just two points and is placed only above Goa and Services in the 10-team group. J & K is sitting much prettier, with seven points. It is placed fourth and it has come here in good form, having beaten Goa by 116 runs in the last match at Surat..

'Sporting wicket'

According to curator Prakash Adhav, slow bowlers like him could expect some turn in the later stages of the match. “There would be something for the seam bowlers too, especially on the opening day,” he said. “It would be sporting wicket for this match.”

Parvez Rasool would be glad to hear that. The off-spinning allrounder had taken seven wickets to guide J & K to a 116-run win against Goa at Surat in the last match. It was quite a memorable match for him, as he had scored a crucial 82, off just 83 balls, in the first innings.

Andhra’s batsmen also need to be wary of the Jammu seamers, Saimulla Beigh and Ram Dayal, both of whom have been among the wickets early on this season.

The teams:

Andhra: G. Hanuma Vihari (capt.), K.S. Bharat, D.B. Prashant, D.B. Ravi Teja, M.U.B. Sriram, D. Siva Kumar, P. Vijay Kumar, Ch. Stephen, B. Ayyappa, I. Karthik Raman, K. Sreekanth, Bhargav Bhatt, T. Vamsi Krishna, B. Siddharth Prasad, A.G. Pradeep and Aswin Hebbar. Coach: K. Sanath Kumar.

Jammu & Kashmir: Mithun Manhas (capt.), Parvez Rasool, Ian Dev Singh, Bandeep Singh, Adil Reshi, Shubham Khajuria, Puneet Bisht, Umar Nazir, Ram Dayal, Amir Aziz, Mohsin Mufti, Pranav Gupta, Samiullah Beigh, Rohit Sharma, Zahoor Sofi and Amir Sofi.

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