Cricket

An intense rivalry renews

The key: Karnataka will look to Mayank Agarwal, who has been in a rich vein of form, to deliver.

The key: Karnataka will look to Mayank Agarwal, who has been in a rich vein of form, to deliver.  

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Tamil Nadu takes on Karnataka in marquee clash

That little genius Gundappa Viswanath square-cutting S. Venkataraghavan with supple wrists and delicate placement or the mercurial T.E. Srinivasan dancing down to counter the magic of Erapalli Prasanna, it’s an old rivalry that brings with it intense competition, a touch of romance and countless memories.

The Ranji Trophy duel between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu is always special. The Southern Derby has got tradition, the X-factor and the zing.

Just days back, in the Syed Mushtaq Ali final, Karnataka prevailed over Tamil Nadu by a solitary run in a heart-stopping thriller.

Famous face-off

The famous face-off will be renewed when host Tamil Nadu meets Karnataka at the NPR-College ground in the season opening marquee Ranji clash, beginning Monday.

It rained here on Sunday and more showers have been forecast. A cloud cover could encourage the pacemen and prevent the pitch from developing cracks. If the sun comes out, spinners could shine bright.

The Vijay Shankar-led Tamil Nadu appears a strong side possessing internationals such as R. Ashwin, M. Vijay, Dinesh Karthik and Abhinav Mukund.

Karnataka will be without K.L. Rahul and Manish Pandey and injured pacemen Abhimanyu Mithun and Prasidh Krishna but the Karun Nair-led side has depth and options.

Run hungry

Importantly, Karnataka has the run-hungry Mayank Agarwal, that top-order batsman with temperament and an array of strokes.

Skipper Karun can also build monuments. And there is the young and aggressive Devdutt Padikkal.

The contest between Ashwin and the Karnataka batsmen led by Karun and Mayank should be fascinating. Left-armer T. Natarajan could create the rough for Ashwin to exploit.

For Karnataka, paceman Ronit More and the spin duo of Shreyas Gopala and K. Gowtham could pose questions.

Bonds of friendship

Apart from fierce on-field clashes, the Karnataka-Tamil Nadu matches created bonds of friendship.

Prasanna said, “Kripal Singh was a fine batsman with a sense of humour. We got along so well. And T.E. Srinivasan, I still don’t know why he didn’t play more for India.”

Former Tamil Nadu captain and potent left-arm spinning all-rounder S. Vasudevan said, “Brijesh Patel, a wonderful batsman. Got him on occasions with my arm ball. We were all great friends off the field.”

Indeed, this is a rivalry for the ages.

The teams (from): Tamil Nadu: Vijay Shankar (captain), B. Aparajith, (vice-captain), M. Vijay, Abhinav Mukund, Dinesh Karthik (wk), N. Jagadeesan (wk), R. Ashwin, Sai Kishore, T. Natarajan, K. Vignesh, Abhishek Tanwar, M. Ashwin, M. Siddharth, Shahrukh Khan, and K. Mukunth.

Karnataka: Karun Nair (c), Mayank Agarwal, Devdutt Padikkal, D. Nischal, Pavan Deshpande, B. R. Sharath, Sharath Srinivas, Ronit More, David Mathias, V. Koushik, Shreyas Gopal, K. Gowtham, J. Suchith, R. Samarth, and K.S. Devaiah.

Match starts at 9.30 a.m.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2020 1:24:41 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/an-intense-rivalry-renews/article30238433.ece

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