Chennai: Keen to break their two-decade old title drought, former champions Tamil Nadu will start as favourites when they take on Assam in their Ranji Trophy opener here on Monday.
Even as both teams looked geared up for the match, rain could play spoilsport. It has been raining here over the past few days and the met department’s forecast was not positive.
Tamil Nadu boast off a strong batting and bowling line-up and the blend of youth and experience gives skipper Dinesh Karthik hopes.
To realise the dream of winning the trophy however, Tamil Nadu will have to learn to sustain its intensity session after session. Last year, after topping the group, they were knocked out in the quarter-finals stage by Delhi.
“Rain gods permitting and if the players perform to their potential, I do not see why we can start the season with an outright win,” Karthik said.
Tamil Nadu will miss the services of dashing opener Murali Vijay, on national duty for the Test series against New Zealand. The opener has been doing well in Test matches in recent times and his presence would have been a big boost for the hosts.
Tamil Nadu looks a far more balanced unit compared to Assam, who have three guest players including captain Amol Mazumdar, Dheeraj Jadhav and Sridharan Sriram in their ranks.
Tamil Nadu’s batting would revolve around Subramaniam Badrinath, Abhinav Mukund, S Anirudha, Arun Karthik and Dinesh Karthik, while their bowling would be taken care of by medium pacers Lakshmipathy balaji, C Ganapathy, Yo Mahesh and spinners R Ashwin and young Aushik Srinivas.
Assam’s bowling would be looked after by medium pacers Abu Nechim Ahmed, Dhiraj Goswami and off-spinner Arlen Konwar.