He has been Kerala's hero this Ranji season. Sony Cheruvathur is in fine touch and heads the team's batting and bowling charts this year. He even got his maiden century in the national championship a few weeks ago.

But things were very different when Kerala played Andhra in Anantapur last December. Sony went wicket-less and just had ducks in both innings as Andhra won by an innings at home.

“Yes, I haven't forgotten that match,” said Sony on Monday, as the home side did the fine-tuning for the Ranji Plate Group game against Andhra which begins at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Tuesday.

“The conditions were really different then, it was a spongy kind of wicket and they had the advantage of winning the toss,” said the 33-year-old. The innings victory in the last game against Tripura, and the six bonus points that came with it, has given the team new confidence.

A.V. Jagadeesh, the Kerala captain said: “Andhra is a balanced team and this is probably the toughest team we are meeting so far this season.”

A.G. Pradeep, the Andhra captain, said: “We are confident of doing well here, this year has been good, better than the last couple of years.”

“But we are a bit worried about the weather.”

It had rained the last couple of days and that is a concern here.

Andhra is in the third spot in Group ‘A' with nine points, while Kerala occupies the next rung with eight points.

The teams: Kerala: V.A. Jagadeesh (captain), Sachin Baby (vice captain), Sunil Thomas, Robert Fernandez, Raiphi Vincent Gomez, Rohan Prem, Abhishek Hegde, K.J. Rakesh, K.R. Sreejith, P. Prasanth, Akshay Kodoth (wk), M.E. Sanuth, Sony Cheruvathur, Prasanth Parameswaran, Manu Krishnan. Coach: Biju George.

Andhra: A.G. Pradeep, H. Watekar, G. Shankara Rao, G.K. Chiranjeevi, Y. Venugopal Rao, B. Sumanth, K.S. Sahabuddin, T. Atchuta Rao, T. Vamsi Krishna (wk), G.V.S. Prasad, D.P. Vijaykumar, V. Lenin, D.B. Prasanth Kumar, Bharath Reddy. Coach: Vincent Vinay Kumar . — Special Correspondent

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