Bengaluru, December 5: Having bagged six crucial points from their previous games against Maharashtra, Karnataka are in red hot form to take on Saurashtra in their fourth Elite Group A Ranji Trophy match to be played at Rajkot from Thursday.
In three matches, Karnataka have begun the season on a high by claiming first innings points against top sides Mumbai and defending champions Vidarbha while defeating Maharashtra by seven wickets.
Meanwhile, rivals Saurashtra too have commenced their season in a convincing fashion to be placed second in the table with 13 points from four matches while Karnataka are fourth with 12.
The boost for Karnataka is the return of opener R. Samarth and Karun Nair from the India ‘A’ team. Kaunian Abbas and Abhishek Reddy have made way for the duo in the squad.
This encounter will also be Saurashtra captain Jaydev Shah’s last game of his career. He has already skippered Saurashtra to a record 111 matches, the highest for anyone in the Ranji Trophy. The game against Karnataka will be his 120th first-class appearance.
Meanwhile, the SCA ground in Khanderi, is known for the spaceship-style media capsule that resembles the one at The Lord’s, sports a batting friendly deck. Karnataka will look to continue with the winning combination but mostly with two changes – Samarth and Karun.
The team management will have task in hand to decide who will open with the trio of Devdutt Padikkal, D. Nischal and R. Samarth looking in great form.
Team: Vinay Kumar R (captain), Shreyas Gopal (vice-captain), Nischal D, Siddharth KV, Samarth R, Karun Nair, Devdutt Padikal, Sharath BR (wk), Suchith J, Mithun A, Ronit More, Pavan Deshpande, Sharath Srinivas (Wk), Liyan Khan, Prateek Jain, Coach: Yere K Goud, Bowling Coach: Arvind S.