After salvaging a draw against Himachal Pradesh at Nadaun, Kerala begins its home campaign against an in-form Assam in the Ranji Trophy group C match at the picturesque KCA stadium in Perinthalmanna on Saturday.
It will be a test of character for Kerala’s home bred players against a side which has been boosted by presence of two professional imports — Dheeraj Jadhav and J. Syed Mohammed. Both Dheeraj and Syed Mohammed have been impact players for Assam this season. The visitors with two consecutive wins definitely has the momentum, a fact acknowledged by Kerala captain Sony Cheruvathur but the host is not losing any sleep over it.
“There is no doubt they are a good side and their confidence is high after two wins. But it is a fresh start for both teams and conditions will be lot different here in Perinthalmanna for them,’’ said Sony.
The skipper also underlined the importance of doing well in the home matches. “We will be playing four matches at home and we will be looking to get maximum points from them,” he said.
“There were a lot of positives for us in the match against Himachal Pradesh. Though the conditions were not in our favour, I was proud of the way we fought back in both the innings.
“Both Sanju and Rohan scored centuries. The draw was as good as a win. The boys are confident and we are hopeful of continuing the good work here in Perinthalmanna,” added Sony.
He was aware of the threat Assam’s captain, the former Maharashtra player, Dheeraj Jadhav could do. Dheeraj has been in terrific form this season and had notched up a double century against Tripura in the last match. “Obviously he is in good form and as an opener he has given his side good starts. We will be trying to minimise the damage he could do to us,” the skipper said.
The Kerala team will be forced to make a one change from the squad that played against Himachal Pradesh since Sachin Baby has been released to play in the C.K. Nayadu Trophy match.
``A couple of players are also carrying niggles. But we will be selecting the final squad in the morning after seeing the conditions,” Sony said.