VISAKHAPATNAM: The South Zone one-day cricket tournament for the K.S. Subbaiah Pillai Trophy returns to the city after a gap of seven years and the presence of players selected for the New Zealand tour — Dinesh Karthik and L. Balaji from Tamil Nadu and Pragyan Ojha of Hyderabad — along with S. Sreesanth, Robin Uthappa and Sunil Joshi should make the tournament interesting.
The round-robin tournament will be played from February 15-21, with February 17 as rest day.
Karnataka comes here as holder with Tamil Nadu as runner-up. Both teams finished in the same position when the tournament was held here last time.
Having returned to the National squad, Dinesh Karthik and L. Balaji would be out to prove their credentials before leaving for New Zealand and this would certainly help Tamil Nadu in its quest to win the South Zone one-day title.
Incidentally, Balaji was the highest wicket-taker when the tournament was held here in 2002 and this should keep him in a good frame of mind.
Andhra raring to go
The Andhra team is packed with nine debutants, including the young skipper B. Sumanth. Last time the host pulled off wins over Karnataka and Tamil Nadu but failed to keep up the momentum.
However, the team is raring to go, say coach M.V. Narasimha Rao and manager M.S. Kumar. Andhra has been relegated in the four-day version of the game, but the young team is a balanced one and is looking for a win against Karnataka in its first match at the ACA-VDCA stadium on Sunday. A win here would bring back the confidence, they said.
Barring a few veterans and a few who have been playing for the last seven to eight years, all teams comprise youngsters who are familiar with the three venues in the city having played in age group tournaments over the last few seasons. — Special Correspondent