Bengaluru, Sep 9: Bellary Tuskers have yet to take giant strides in the Karnataka Premier League (KPL) Twenty20 tournament but the 2016 edition could well prove to be their year.
Since their KPL debut in 2014, the team has not played to potential. Barring a few individual performances, they have not really taken off thus far. (Know your team - Hubli Tigers)
But that could change this year as the current squad promises to deliver better results thanks to the presence of a few of the state's talented cricketers in its ranks.
The seniors will provide good balance to the young team. Overall, the team composition looks very balanced. (Know your team - Bijapur Bulls)
In senior players Amit Verma, KB Pawan and Balachandra Akhil, the Tuskers have a seasoned lot. All three have vast experience on the first-class circuit. Verma and Pawan have even represented different states, after making their presence felt in the Karnataka team.
Amit Verma, during a chat revealed that Tuskers had plenty of options to choose from.
"It's a balanced side this year. Both batting and bowling departments are well covered. This gives the captain a lot of options," he said. (List of players retained)
Comparing the team to last year's squad, Verma said that finishing games needed special focus.
"This year our focus is on finishing games. Last year, we had some matches in our grasp, but we didn't finish well."
Speaking of the opponents, Verma felt that Mysuru had a strong presence this time.
"Mysuru (Warriors) have a balanced side. I feel they would be a threat," he stated.
Bellary, who retained CA Karthik, Prasidh Krishna and Devraj Patil, along with Verma, are hoping that Prasidh Krishna could create a huge impact.
The 20-year old, who underwent training under Australian fast bowling great Glenn McGrath at the MRF Pace Foundation, shot to fame after he snatched six wickets against the visiting Bangladesh 'A' side in Mysuru last year.
That performance along with his good season for Tuskers earned him a spot in the Ranji Trophy squad. This year, Prasidh is again expected to be the spearhead of the bowling attack.
Additionally the Tuskers have expanded their all-round options by signing up veteran Balachandra Akhil. The 38-year old has been a prominent player in the KPL since inception..
He was part of the victorious Provident Bangalore side in the inaugural edition of the
league. Since then, he's also rendered his services to Hubli Tigers and more recently to defending champions Bijapur Bulls.
More than his all-round abilities, Akhil is a smart leader and has in-depth knowledge of the game.
Another big name in the side is coach, J Arunkumar. He has been at the helm of things for Karnataka over the past few years and has been instrumental in coaching the sides that went onto win various National titles.
This season Tuskers' focus would be on the youngsters in the squad. They'd want them to combine well with the seniors and thus present a strong, united team. All things considered this could be their year of reckoning.
Bellary Tuskers Squad
Akhil Balachandra (captain)
Karthik C A
Anil I G
S P Manjunath
Owners - Arvind Venkatesh Reddy and Ragini Dwivedi
Abhishek Rai - CEO
Suresh V K - COO
J Arun Kumar - Head Coach
Ameet S N - Bowling Coach
Shailesh - Manager
David Johnson - Mentor
Dr. Nadeem - Physio
Venkey - Masseur
Santosh Setty - Co ordinater
Prashant Pujar- Trainer