Ranji knockouts in Bengaluru: Karnataka players confident


Former Indian batter Gundappa Vishwanath said that playing at home ground will give extra motivation to the Karnataka state team.

Karnataka state team is excited about the knockout stage of the tournament happening in Bengaluru from June 6.

The BCCI announced the schedule for knockout games towards the end of April.

Siddharth K.V., batter with the Karnataka team said, “Up to a certain level, yes [it will be beneficial]. We all have grown up playing on these grounds, so we are familiar with the conditions.”

Sharath BR, wicketkeeper with the team had similar views. “I think the outfield, and the ground which have already played a lot of games on—we are very familiar with it. So that’s the advantage.”

The quarter-finals and semi-finals will be played at the Alur Cricket Ground and Just Cricket Academy in Bangalore, with the final set to be played at the Chinnaswamy Stadium from June 22.

Bangalore is one of the cities which have Board of  Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) approved infrastructure to organize multiple matches simultaneously.

Anutosh Paul, the Karnataka team manager explained the reason for organizing the matches in Bangalore. “The only place in India where six first-class matches can be played on a day is Bangalore. All the grounds are BCCI approved grounds.”

“It is a matter of pride for us, but there will be the pressure that we are playing on the home ground,” said V Shankar, Assistant Manager at the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA).

However, all the knockout matches will not be broadcast live. While two matches will be broadcast digitally, a quarter-final involving Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh, a semi-final and the final will be broadcasted on TV. Two matches will not be broadcast live. Shankar said that it will be too costly to broadcast all the matches. There are no proper studios either, he explained.

Anutosh Paul, the team manager said that preparing in Bangalore is a big advantage. “We have ample time to prepare here and we are not travelling, so we don’t have to waste that time. We can also play a lot of preparatory matches since we are here. If the matches were to be played elsewhere and we played preparatory matches here, we would not have the benefits related to weather or conditions.”

He also said that crowd support will be a big advantage if it is allowed.

Ranji Trophy is the premier tournament for Indian domestic cricketers. The tournament was cancelled last year for the first time due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The tournament in the current year was all the more important for the players.

“A lot of cricketers out there work hard the entire year just to be a part of their state teams and to represent the state at the trophy level. So it was definitely a big blow for all the domestic cricketers,” Siddharth said.

The first phase of the tournament was played in February and March in the current year after a long hiatus.

Former Indian opener Gundappa Vishwanath said, “Obviously it’s an advantage. These days you don’t get to play home matches at home either. So this will give them extra [motivation] to do well.”

However, since the pitch curators have been neutral, the home teams do not have a significant benefit. “Now it’s all neutral curators [who prepare the pitch]. So we cannot have the advantage of the pitch as per our requirements,” Paul said.

Sharath echoed the views. “Curators and all are neutral now, so we cannot have any significant benefit on the pitch.

The quarterfinal matches will start on June 6. The Karnataka team is confident of making it to the finals, but would not take the opponents for granted, according to Siddharth.