In a departure from the previous years, the Tamil Nadu cricket team will play two four-day practice matches against Karnataka in Bangalore from October 1.

Revealing the tour of the neighbouring State, TNCA secretary K.S. Viswanathan told The Hindu, “We want to give the side an opportunity to get into the groove ahead of the Ranji season.” Tamil Nadu begins its Ranji campaign against last year’s semifinalist Services in Delhi.

TNCA joint-secretary R.I. Palani told this newspaper, “The Tamil Nadu cricketers took part in the Buchi Babu tournament where the matches were two-day affairs. Then, in Moin-ud-Dowla, the games were played on a 90-40-overs-basis over two innings.”

He added, “So Tamil Nadu has not really played any four-day cricket ahead of the Ranji Trophy season. The two matches against Karnataka will address the issue. These will be crucial matches for us.”

The first match will be held between October 1 to 4 and the second, October 7 to 10. “The two sides, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, are expected to be at full strength or close to it,” said Mr. Palani.

Mr. Viswanathan said, “We would be trying out various combinations in the two matches. Particularly in the bowling department, where we are seeking to improve.”

The TNCA actually wanted the State team figure in contests in North Zone, ahead of the season to adapt to the conditions over there. However, it was unable to find suitable dates for matches in that part of the country.

“We thought, Bangalore, at this time of the year, would have conditions that are closest to those prevailing in the north of the country. This, apart from the fact that Karnataka is a capable side, was a clincher,” said Palani.

After the conclusion of the second game, the Tamil Nadu cricketers will undergo a 10-day camp in Hosur. The team, would then, fly to Delhi for a brief three-day camp, before its first Ranji match of the season, against Services on October 27.

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