Rohtak: Ideally, a Haryana vs Tamil Nadu Ranji Trophy quarterfinal match should have been billed up as a contest between two of the premier spinners in the country.
India’s second best off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin taking on Haryana captain and leggie Amit Mishra head on would sound great but the pitch at the Bansi Lal Cricket Stadium in Lahli (20 kms from Rohtak) will test technique of the batsmen from either side.
Facing a formidable domestic team like Tamil Nadu won’t be an easy proposition but it is the 22-yard strip at the Bansi Lal Stadium that will definitely put both teams on even keel.
Also the fact that Haryana’s only outstation player is former India middle-order batsman Hemang Badani will be reason for worry for Dinesh Karthik’s boys. Badani has gelled well with the Haryana team and will definitely provide crucial inputs about rivals whom he knows like the back of his hand.
Tamil Nadu who have played mostly at home will hope that their skipper Badrinath fires again like he did in the group league matches. Badrinath has been in tremendous form this season topping the run-scorers’ list with 734 runs followed by Mumbai skipper Wasim Jaffer.
The visitors will also hope that their captain Dinesh Karthik who has been woeful get some runs along with Abhinav Mukund, KB Arun Karthik who are dependable domestic players.
But it will not be an easy task to score in Rohtak where Haryana’s medium fast quartet of Dhruv Singh, Joginder Sharma, Sanjay Budhawar and Sachin Rana have really done well.
Joginder has in fact taken 29 wickets and was instrumental in winning an away game against Uttar Pradesh at Ghaziabad. In fact Haryana bowlers Joginder, Dhruv and Mishra have got three hat-tricks this season.
Teams have found runs hard to come during end of the year in this small town in Northern India where the ball does a fair bit throughout the day.
That the ground at Lahli has been a low-scoring one can be gauged from the fact Haryana’s top-scorer in the season has been Nitin Saini with 385 runs followed by Badani at 374.
Tamil Nadu’s bowling of late has been largely depended on duo of Ashwin and Suresh Kumar. However with the wicket offering assistance to the seamers it will be interesting if L Balaji who has got only 10 wickets from five games can use the conditions to good effect. He will also expect that Chandrasekhar Ganapathy can prove to be a worthy new-ball partner in bowler friendly conditions.