Bengaluru, Oct 14: KL Rahul and Karun Nair would look to put up impressive show before the national selectors meet to pick the Indian Test squad for the South Africa series, as Karnataka take on Vidarbha in a Group A Ranji Trophy match here tomorrow (October 15).
Rahul, who is making a comeback after recovering from the quadriceps strain that he had sustained during India's tour of Sri Lanka in August, will be desperate to make to mark.
He has played a stellar role in Karnataka's success story in last two seasons. Last year, he notched up 838 runs from five matches and became the first Karnataka batsman to score a triple century in the domestic circuit.
The 23-year-old will look to continue the success story this season too, besides returning to the Indian team. Karun, who was recently called up as a reserve for the India Test team against Sri Lanka, would want to carry forward his form that he showed against Bengal in the last match.
He made a mincemeat of Bengal bowling with a crushing century, which put Karnataka in the driver's seat. Shishir Bhavane (119) and bowling-allrounder Shreyas Gopal (139) will also be high on confidence after their fine tons that helped Karnataka amass 537 runs for nine declared.
Also one of last season's top scorers Robin Uthappa and Manish Pandey will be eager to showcase their skills. The Vinay Kumar-led bowling attack has been consistent with its ability to take wickets in regular intervals.
Kumar and HS Sharath shared seven wickets between them in Bengal's first innings, forcing them to follow on in the last game. On the other hand, Vidarbha will look to put behind their dismal performance against Delhi, which had mauled them after Ishant Sharma ran through their innings.
After failing miserably in the last match, stalwarts Wasim Jaffer and Subramanium Badrinath would like to showcase their talents, which they had been doing for their erstwhile Mumbai and Tamil Nadu, respectively.
A Shanware, who scored a brilliant 119 against Odisha in their opening match, and Ganesh Sathish, who notched up a half century so far, will also like to contribute with their bats.
A consistent run-maker for the past four seasons, Shalabh Shrivastava would also want to bury the disappointing performances of the last two matches.
Umesh Yadav is away on national duty and it is a big loss for Vidarbha. His new ball partner Shreekant Wagh, meanwhile, has been growing in stature in the last three seasons.
The team will expect the pace duo of Ravi Thakur and Swapnil Bandiwar to shine. They did a good job last year. Off-spinner Akshay Wakhare, who broke the 50-year-old record of best bowling figures in a match for Vidarbha, enjoys role of lead spinner and would like to make his presence felt.
Karnataka: R Vinay Kumar (captain), CM Gautam (vice-captain and wicketkeeper), R Samarth, Robin Uthappa, Manish Pandey, Karun Nair, Shishir Bhavane, Shreyas Gopal, J Suchith, A Mithun, HS Sharath, Udit B Patel, S Aarvind, Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul.
Vidarbha: Subramanium Badrinath (captain), Ganesh Satish, Wasim Jaffer, Shalabh Shrivastava, Swapnil Bandiwar, Ravi Thakur, Amol Ubarhande, Jitesh Sharma (wicketkeeper), Ravi Jangid, Aditya Sarwate, Aditya Shanware, Shreekant Wagh, Akshay Wakhare, Dharmendra Ahlawat, Amol Jungade.