Bangalore: Star-studded Karnataka holds edge over minnows Himachal Pradesh in the second round Ranji Trophy Elite Group 'A' tie to be played at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Thursday.
Karnataka, led by new Team India Test skipper Anil Kumble have a strong batting line up with former Test Captain 'The Wall' Rahul Dravid, who regained his form by scoring a match-saving double century in the first encounter against the defending champions Mumbai recently.
Kumble, who is away in Mumbai, attending BCCI Test team selection for the three-test home series against Pakistan, was expected to arrive here tonight.
Coach Vijay R Bharadwaj said, ''since the match would be played on the newly laid pitch, I do not know how it would progress.''
However the team was fully prepared and confident of putting up a brave fight, he added.
Bharadwaj said though Himachal Pradesh had qualified for Elite Group only this year, we cannot take them lightly''.
Himachal Pradesh skipper Sandeep Sharma said the match would provide adequate exposure to the young players in the team when they face players of the calibre of Kumble and Dravid in the opposition.
However, Ashok Thakur, who scored a ton in the first match of the Ranji season against Saurashtra said other players in the team were also in good nick and the people here can expect good cricket over the next four days.
Both the teams had net practice today.
Bharadwaj said the same eleven which played against Mumbai is likely to be retained. The team, however, would be announced before the commencement of the match.
Karnataka: Anil Kumble (Captain), Rahul Dravid, Barrington Rowland, K B Pawan, K Yere Goud (Vice Captain), C Raghu, V S Thilak Naidu (wk), B Akhil, Sunil B Joshi, R Vinay Kumar, N C Aiyappa, Sudhindra P Shinde, Devaraj T Patil, K P Appanna and S Dhananjaya.
Coach:Vijay R Bharadwaj, Physio: V Muthu Kumar and Manager: A Raghuram Bhat.
Himachal Pradesh: Sandeep Sharma (Captain), Munish Gupta, Sangram Singh, Manvinder Vishla (wk), Paras Dogra, Ajay Manu, Mukesh, Vishal Bhalla, Sandeep Singh, Vikramjeel Malik, Ashok Thakur, Varun Mishra, Barun Sharma, Jitender Mehta, and Mahinder.
Coach: Rajdeep Kaisi, Physio: Suresh. and Manager: Shiv Kapoor.