Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy: Karnataka hopes to tame Goa

“It’s important to start well,” said R. Vinay Kumar on the eve of Karnataka’s opener against Goa. “We must perform right from the first innings itself, whether we bat or bowl,” said the southern side’s skipper, never short of energy or enthusiasm.

R. Vinay Kumar feels Goa would be no pushover.   -  G. P. Sampath Kumar

Visakhapatnam and its neighbouring town of Vizianagaram should serve as fine launching pads to a T20 career when the south zone leg of the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy gets underway on Monday. With the Indian Premier League (IPL) not too far off on the cricketing horizon, many will be keen to rise, shine and get noticed.

The port city’s pitch at the Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy stadium may slant towards the batsmen, while the one in Vizzy’s hometown should assist the bowlers. A common denominator to the two is the fine work done by curator Naga Mallaiah, known to prepare sound and sporting surfaces.

Regardless of the predictions, players of the game across the formats have few, if not any, complaints about the conditions here. The Vizag venue in particular has come in for praise from no less than Sunil Gavaskar himself.

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Mallaiah is more confident about Vizag that hosted the one-dayer against Sri Lanka about three weeks ago. The outfield at Vizianagaram may have come in for some wear and tear, what with many camps being conducted at the Andhra Cricket Association (ACA) Academy housed there.

“It’s important to start well,” said R. Vinay Kumar on the eve of Karnataka’s opener against Goa. “We must perform right from the first innings itself, whether we bat or bowl,” said the southern side’s skipper, never short of energy or enthusiasm.

Goa to him would be no pushover. Without thinking too much about the opposition, he would not rule out the vagaries of the game’s shortest format. “It takes just two batsmen or as many bowlers to completely change the complexion of a game,” said the zone’s defending champion’s captain, who has repeatedly come up with good displays in all three versions but didn’t get enough outings in the IPL.

Goa’s skipper Sagun Kamat will lead a young side with the three experienced hands being himself, Shadab Jakati and Swapnil Asnodkar. “We were champions in 2013-14,” he reminded while adding that the key to getting spotted lay in delivering against Karnataka, TN and Hyderabad.

The promising U-19 prospect Rutvik Naik fractured his little finger during fielding practice this morning may be a setback but Kamat is optimistic. “The momentum can shift anytime in T20,” he said. A 9 am start will assist the new ball operators. In the week to come, there should be no dearth of high-octane action.