Perhaps it would be stating the obvious, but both Mohd Kaif and Rahul Dravid are desperate for a good start to the Ranji Trophy season. The Super League Group 'B' tie between Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka, starting here, holds importance for Rahul Dravid, Rudra Pratap Singh and to a certain extent Piyush Chawla before the Test series against the visiting Sri Lanka team begins.
“It's going to be a good practice opportunity for me, and I would love to avail it,” said Dravid. “Besides, I feel the team also needs a good start to the season,” added Dravid, who termed the pitch here as a batting paradise.
He, however, refused to take the hosts lightly. Kaif too was not willing to underestimate the Karnataka side. “Despite not having Praveen Kumar, Suresh Raina and Sudeep Tyagi, we have good bowlers and batsmen to challenge the rivals.”
UP, who have made it to three Ranji Trophy finals in the last four years, would start with three seamers --- RP Singh, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and ex-ICL star Shalabh Srivastava, besides two specialist spinners, Piyush Chawla and Praveen Gupta. In the batting department, apart from Kaif, Tanmay Srivastava, Shivakant Shukla, Ravikant Shukla, Parvinder Singh and Piyush Chawla would share the burden.
UP will play four matches at home and two away games at Rajkot and Pune.