Close to two decades, Sunil Joshi did his best to ensure victory and honour for Karnataka in the cricketing fields. And then a subtle change crept in as the left-arm spinner with 615 first-class wickets donned the coach's robes and guided Hyderabad in to the Elite Division of the Ranji Trophy though a contest against Karnataka never materialised.

However, the match between his adopted home and his roots will soon become a reality when Hyderabad will take on the host in the Subbaiah Pillai Trophy tournament here on February 24. “It does feel a bit unusual. Having played for Karnataka for so many years and now that I am part of the rival team, it is unusual. The match against Karnataka is our fourth game and all I want is a good contest. The team (Hyderabad) should contest well,” Joshi said.

In a twist to the tale, the former India player now believes that Hyderabad might test the mettle of proven teams like Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. “I would like to believe that we are not in the championship race because I don't want to put any pressure on the players but at the same time I know that we can do it,” Joshi said.

“We have prepared well. We had a knock-out tournament in the first division league stage there in Hyderabad. Pragyan Ojha will strengthen our bowling and the others too have done well. We have fresh players like Sandeep Rajan.” Joshi, who has earned plaudits from V.V.S. Laxman and the Hyderabad Cricket Association officials, tonked his bat around in the recent league games in Bangalore. Any plans of playing in the Subbaiah Pillai tournament? “May be next year!,” Joshi said and laughed aloud.

  • “Having played for Karnataka for so many years and now that I am part of the rival team, it is unusual”

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