Mysuru: Virender Sehwag, who has announced his retirement from international cricket, will be the star attraction as Haryana takes on Karnataka in a Group A Ranji Trophy match here today.
The crowd here will be keenly anticipating a battle royal between the Nawab of Najafgarh and a formidable bowling lineup led by R Vinay Kumar and company, which includes Abhimanyu Mithun. Sehwag's breezy 37 and a gutsy 51 in the first and second innings respectively against Delhi was one of the highlights of Haryana's performance in what was his first game on his former home turf after switching loyalties this season.
Another start attraction will be Karnataka's KL Rahul, who after a poor show in the previous match against Vidarbha, would like to get some vital match practice ahead of the Test series against South Africa. Rahul, who was picked for the Indian Test squad for the first two Tests against South Africa, had a poor outing as he managed to score 40-odd runs in the two innings against Vidarbha.
The Indian opener, who has notched up two Test hundreds in his career so far, will be itching to get a big score under his belt before taking on the like of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, if given a chance to play. Karun Nair and Samarth, who cracked wonderful centuries in a tame draw against Vidarbha, would like to carry their form to help Karnataka get some vital points to be among top three teams in the points-table.
Nair and Samarth, on the final day of the previous match, smashed 101 and 121 not out, helping Karnataka setting a target of 372 runs for the visitors. Shishir Bhavane and bowling-all rounder Shreyas Gopal, who have also got centuries each under their belt against Bengal, will be eager to showcase their skills.
Manish Pandey, who scored his 16th first-class century to put Karnataka in command against Vidarbha, also will have plans up his sleeves to continue the form against Haryana. Also waiting in the wings will be Robin Uthappa, who will be on a hunt to get his first century of the season, after being one of the heavy scorers in the domestic circuit in last couple of years.