Ranji Trophy: Mumbai eager for comeback win v struggling Tamil Nadu
Things won't be easy for Aditya Tare and his men in the match at the M A Chidambaram stadium here, where the track is expected to be on the slower side
Chennai: A full-strength Tamil Nadu bolstered by presence of seniors like Ravichandran Ashwin and Dinesh Karthik will take on a depleted Mumbai in a marquee Ranji Trophy clash starting Saturday. Tamil Nadu are currently placed 16th in the cross pool table (comprising of 18 teams from group A and B) with four points from as many games while Mubai are placed 13th after three games with six points, courtesy their win in the opening round encounter. Things won't be easy for Aditya Tare and his men in the match at the M A Chidambaram stadium here, where the track is expected to be on the slower side.
The visiting team led by Tare in the absence of regular skipper Suryakumar Yadav, who has been picked in the India 'A' squad for the tour of New Zealand, will be missing several other big names including Prithvi Shaw (injured), Shardul Thakur, Shivam Dube and Shreyas Iyer, who are away on national duty. Tamil Nadu team has struggled to get going after reaching the finals of the Vijay Hazare Trophy (50 overs) and Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy (T20) tournaments and has managed only four points from four matches so far.
The Vijay Shankar-led team has a lot to do if it aims to qualify for the knockouts. The return of Ashwin and the seasoned duo of Karthik and Abhinav Mukund couldn't have come at a better time while the dependable Baba Indrajith's inclusion will also be a boost for the team. Ashwin, who returns after playing the first two matches, will be expected to lead the attack in which left-arm pacer T Natarajan and left-arm spinner R Sai Kishore have been doing well.
Mumbai too hasn't had the best of times, having lost two matches while winning one and with its performance drawing flak. 'Keeper-batsman Tare will have to rise to the occasion and lead from the front even as he will expect the crisis man Siddhesh Lad and others like Jay Bista and the talented Sarfaraz Khan to shine. A rather inexperienced bowling attack faces a huge task as it comes up against a strong Tamil Nadu batting unit which will be looking to come into its own.
The teams will be aiming for victory to keep them in the hunt for qualification for the knockouts and exciting cricket can be expected over the course of the four days. Tamil Nadu coach D Vasu and captain Vijay Shankar said the team had fought back well after two losses and hoped to see the seniors players contributing.
Mumbai captain Tare, on his part, said the team would be missing a few established players but it was an opportunity for the youngsters to do well.
"The only way forward is to play positive cricket. There's a lot of energy in the side. A lot of good players from the under-19 and under-23 side have come into the side. This game is going to show what's the future of the Mumbai cricket is. It is exciting times for me as a captain. You will get a glimpse of what the future is..." Tare said.
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