By our sports Reporter
GUWAHATI, September 30: Last year quarter filist Assam will have the home advantage against defending champion Kartaka when the two teams clash in the league match of group Elite-A Ranji Trophy cricket tourment starting at the Barsapara cricket stadium in the city on Thursday.
Assam prepared a balance squad this season with good batting strength supported by quality bowling attack in both pace and spin. However the team had not had enough match practice compared to the visitors.
Both the teams had strenuous training sessions at the Barsapara ground this morning. Assam coach K Sath Kumar felt that his boys should show some mental toughness if they really want to perform well against the defending champion. "We have to be positive throughout the game and our players should concentrate on own performance rather thinking about the result of the game," said Sath.
He also added Sarupam Purkayastha will be promoted in the batting order and the right handed batsman will open the innings with Pallav Kumar Das. Sarupam, in his reaction, said, "It will not be a problem for me. Although I have not open in any Ranji trophy matches earlier but I am ready to take the Challenge."
As the pitch will likely to take turn from day II so both the teams may try to bat first in the game if the toss goes in favour of them. If there is good turn in the wicket it can helps the local team as Assam have few quality part time spinners like Gokul Sarma, Amit Verma and Tarjinder Singh, apart from two regular spinners Sarupam Purkayastha and Syed Mohammad. In the batting Assam will have to depend on two openers along with captain Gokul Sharma, newly recruit Amit Verma, wicketkeeper batsman Arun Karthik, Sibsankar Roy and Tarjinder Singh. Although host team yet to filize the first XI of the match but they kept out Bikash Chetry and Amit Sinha from the first XIII. There is a hint from the team magement that Assam may go with two pacers from-Abu Nechim Ahmed, Arup Das and Krish Das, in the match.
Meanwhile, Viy Kumar, Kartaka captain, said, they are not taking the hosts lightly "The level of domestic cricket is now very high and we can't take any team lightly," said Kumar. There is a point too in Kumar's thought as last year Assam bowed out from the Ranji trophy losing the quarter fil tie against same outfit by virtue of first innings deficit. Present captain Gokul sarma remained not out in the second innings scoring a century.
The reigning champion has come in the city to play the match with full strength. Only regular figure missing from the team is opener KL Rahul who will miss the tie because of injury. The team also picked up rookie pacer Prasidh M Krish and 21 year old left arm spinner J Suchith. Both the bowlers are in good form. In the batting Manish Pandey, Mayank Agarwal, Karun ir and Robin Uthappa will be the players to watch. With the ball captain Viy Kumar, who now concentrating more to become an all rounder, will spearhead the attack.
Assam: Gokul Sharma (Capt.), Arun Karthik (vc), Abu Nechim, Amit Verma, Bikash Chetri, Arup Das, Krish Das, Pritam Das, Pallav kumar Das, Amit Sinha, Sarupam Purkayastha, Sibsankar Roy, Kul Saikia (wk), J Syed Mohammad and Tarjinder Singh
Kartaka Squad: Viy Kumar (Capt.), CM Gautam, Mayank Agarwal, Shishir Bhavane, Shreyas Gopal, Abhimanyu Mithun, Karun ir, Manish Pandey, Udit Patel, Prasidh Krish, Abhishek Reddy, Ravikumar Samarth, HS Sharath, J Suchith and Robin Uthappa.