Bangalore: Right-arm medium pacer B K Venkatesh Prasad will lead Karnataka in their first encounter against Hyderabad in the South Zone Ranji Trophy league match at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium from November 1 to 4. Anil Kumble and Rahul Dravid have been sidelined with injuries and have not been included in the team.The state players began their preparations for the new season under new cricket manager Syed Kirmani and new administrative manager J Abhiram. The Karnataka players are a confident lot with the backing of the international stars, who are available for this curtain raiser match, and the playing 11 has already been announced.The players had a stint of practice - a fielding practice session followed by batting at the nets with both Kirmani and Abhiram showing a lot of keenness to get the state team get going in right earnest. Hyderabad too have a former international cricketer Arshad Ayub as cricket manager and good contest in on the cards.While the team against Hyderabad is a combination of youth and experience, the home state have also included young off-spinner P Dharmichand in the squad. "The first two matches - Hyderabad and Tamil Nadu - are crucial for us. Depending on the performance of the seniors, we would like to give an opportunity to youngsters like Dharmichand against teams like Goa. We want to give them the exposure and groom them in the right manner," administrative manager J Abhiram told Thatscricket.com.Karnataka will open with Mithun Beerala and J Arun Kumar, while former opener Sujith Somasunder has been pushed to the number four slot. Young batsman Barrington Rowland, Vijay R Bharadwaj and V S Thilak Naidu are the other top order batsman. Karnataka go into the match with three medium pacers - Javagal Srinath, B K Venkatesh Prasad, Doddanarasiah Ganesh - and two spinners in Sunil Joshi and Anand Yalvigi. Thilak Naidu will keep wickets.The wicket on the surface looks very flat with patches of grass. "It all depends on the batsman. If they stay at the wicket without doing anything silly, they can score runs," a senior groundsman said. Karnataka:Mithun Beerala, J Arun Kumar, Barrington Rowland, Sujith Somasunder, Vijay R Bharadwaj, Thilak Naidu (wicket-keeper), Sunil Joshi, Venkatesh Prasad (captain), A Yalvigi, Javagal Srinath and D Ganesh. 12th man: B Akhil. Reserves: P Dharmichand, S Vadeyaraj and M A Khan.
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