After Vijay Hazare Trophy 2019-20, it is now time for the leading players of Indian domestic cricket to feature in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Twenty20 tournament. Usually the SMAT20 – the country’s domestic Twenty20 tournament – takes place in January-February after the Ranji Trophy but with the IPL Auctions set to take place in December, the BCCI decided to stage the tournament in November in a bid to give chance to the domestic cricketers of the country to showcase their precocious talents and put forward their case in front of the franchise owners.
So, with the tournament set to begin on November 8, 2019, all the teams have started to announce their squads and the latest to join the bandwagon is the champions of the recently concluded Vijay Hazare Trophy. The VHT 2019-20 winners and the defending champions of last year’s Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy- Karnataka- have announced their 15-member squad for the first three games of the marquee tournament.
Regular skipper Manish Pandey and ace opener KL Rahul, who were the spearheads in their team’s Vijay Hazare Trophy triumph last month are currently on national duty and are expected to join the squad after the culmination of the T20 International series against Bangladesh.
Karun Nair to lead the defending champions in the absence of Manish Pandey
In the absence of regular skipper Manish Pandey, right-handed batsman Karun Nair will lead the fifteen-member unit in Karnataka‘s first three games against Uttarakhand, Baroda, and Andhra before the former takes over the mantle
For Nair, it will be a chance to not only showcase his leadership skills but also redeem his personal form after the right-hander had a forgettable Vijay-Hazare Trophy campaign. Devdutt Padikkal- the leading run-scorer (609 runs at 67.67) in the recently concluded domestic 50-over tournament will once again spearhead the batting unit alongside Rohan Kadam, who will be looking to do an encore of his exploits from the last season where he emerged as the highest run-getter (536 runs at 53.60).
The bowling unit too boasts of a formidable look with Abhimanyu Mithun and V Koushik shepherding the fast bowling department and the duo of Shreyas Gopal and Krishnappa Gowtham taking over the spin mantle. The defending champions will kick start their campaign against Unmukt Chand-led Uttarakhand in Kolkata on November 09
Here’s the squad
Karun Nair (Captain), Rohan Kadam, Devdutt Padikkal, Pavan Deshpande, Anirudha Joshi, Pravin Dubey, Luvnith Sisodia (WK), Gowtham K, Suchith J, Mithun A, Koushik V, Shreyas Gopal, Prateek Jain, Nihal Ullal, Ravikumar Samarth.
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