Wrapped in the lap of scenic mountains and a string of coconut and pine trees lies a town whose bedrock has always been vibrant and action-oriented in terms of cinemas, celebrating artists and politicians alike with unbridled energy.
The 18th-century fort of Vizianagaram stands the test of time and although Bhogi and Sankranti have passed, the celebrations haven’t died. This time, it’s not an on-screen blockbuster. Rather, it’s an on-field one as Andhra is in touching distance of a spot in the knockouts of the 2022-23 Ranji Trophy.
High on confidence after humbling domestic heavyweight Saurashtra, the Hanuma Vihari-led team will take on Assam in an Elite Group B match here, starting Tuesday.
Andhra started its Ranji Trophy season on the wrong foot after it suffered a nine-wicket defeat to Mumbai in its opening game. But the turnaround was quick, as Andhra tamed Tamil Nadu and then hammered Hyderabad by 154 runs. The recent win against Saurashtra has certainly kicked in the delight in the team and amongst the locals.
Complacency can’t be ruled out, as the side suffered a 131-loss to Maharashtra and salvaged a draw against Delhi. Andhra with 19 points, is now in the fourth position, having played six matches, winning three, losing two and salvaging a draw.
The toast of Andhra has been Lalith Mohan, who picked 11 wickets (5/71 & 6/58) against Saurashtra, and the 32-year-old will play a vital role against Assam.
Players to watch out
Ricky Bhui, Riyan Parag, KV Srikanth, Nitish Reddy and Karan Shinde are some players to watch out for in terms of individual performances. In head-to-head, Assam has got the upper hand, having won twice against Andhra in 2009 and 2015 and playing out two draws in the 2012-13 season.
The win against Saurashtra places Andhra as favourites, but the Highlanders have mowed down Hyderabad to make a statement that they are no pushovers.
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