Ranji Trophy: Andhra takes on formidable Haryana in Mumbai

Haryana is not just on top of Group C, but has won two of its three matches and took the first innings points in the other. Andhra too has come to this match with a confident frame of mind after posting a stunning, come-from-behind win over Jammu & Kashmir.

Ranji Trophy, Andhra v Haryana, Wankhede,

Andhra players attend a training session on the eve of the Ranji Trophy match against Haryana at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Wednesday.   -  P.K. Ajith Kumar

On a bright Wednesday morning here at the Wankhade Stadium, Vijay Yadav spoke with an air of quiet confidence about Haryana’s campaign in the Ranji Trophy.

His boys are not just on top of Group C, but have won two of their three matches and took the first innings points in the other. The former Indian wicket-keeper certainly would want to keep that momentum going in the match against Andhra, starting at this renowned Test venue on Thursday.

But the coach reckons it would not be easy; Andhra too has come to this match with a confident frame of mind after posting a stunning, come-from-behind win over Jammu & Kashmir at the nearby Barbourne Stadium just three days ago. It was a much-needed win for Andhra too, having collected just two points from its first two games.

“That victory was very important for us,” admitted Andhra’s coach N. Santh Kumar. “The way our pacemen, P. Vijay Kumar and D. Siva Kumar, supported left-arm spinner Bhargav Bhatt, who took nine wickets, was heartwarming.”

He was also pleased that Andhra chased down the target by scoring briskly and sensibly in the fourth innings. D.B. Ravi Teja led that chase, scoring his second fifty of the match.

But no Andhra batsman has scored a hundred yet in the tournament. Its captain and main batsman Hanuma Vihari hasn’t made as many runs as he would have liked to.

“He is capable of playing big innings,” said his coach. “He is due for one; it could come here.”

One thing is sure, though.

He, and the rest of the Andhra batsmen, would have to face one of the more potent attacks in this group of the Ranji Trophy. Led by Mohit Sharma, who has played 26 One Day Internationals for India, its bowling looks pretty balanced.

In captain Mohit and Harshal Patel, it has a formidable new-ball pair. To back them up, there are Sanjay Pahal and former Indian all-rounder Joginder Sharma.

Another international, Yuzvendra Chahal, adds more teeth to the attack with his leg spin. He is the most successful bowler for Haryana so far, with 14 wickets.

As for batting, Vijay would have been happier if his frontline batsmen had made more than the one hundred they managed, through opener Nitin Saini, but he bets on the depth of the line-up.

“Having said that, I expect our batsmen to do well here,” the coach said. “The wicket looks good for batting, though there could be some bounce for the bowlers, especially on the first day.”

The teams (from):

Andhra: G. Hanuma Vihari (capt.), K.S. Bharat, D.B. Prashanth Kumar, 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: N. Sanath Kumar.

Haryana: Mohit Sharma (captain), Nitin Saini, Shubham Rohilla, Chaitanya Bishnoi, Himanshu Rana, Rajat Paliwal, Rohit Sharma, Joginder Sharma, Harshal Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ashish Hooda, Mohit Hooda, Sanjay Pahal and Virender Dahiya. Coach: Vijay Yadav.

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