Mayank Agarwal.

Mayank Agarwal.
| Photo Credit: MURALI KUMAR K

Mayank Agarwal will lead the Karnataka team in the opening two fixtures of the Ranji Trophy, against Punjab and Gujarat.

All-rounder K. Gowtham, who featured in the preceding Vijay Hazare Trophy and Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy white ball tournaments, has been left out. In the previous edition of the Ranji Trophy, Gowtham had finished as Karnataka’s highest wicket-taker alongside pacer V. Vyshak (31 wickets).

On the 36-year-old Gowtham’s exclusion, KSCA men’s selection committee chairman J. Abhiram stated that the time has come to give younger players a look in.

“Gowtham has done very well for Karnataka over the years, but all players eventually have to move on. We have to keep the future in mind,” Abhiram said.

Gowtham has long been a mainstay in Karnataka’s red-ball side. He has played 59 First Class matches, taking 224 wickets with his off-spin. A handy bat with a penchant for the big hits, Gowtham also has one century and five fifties.

The spin attack now consists of left-arm spinners Shubhang Hegde and Rohit Kumar, and offspinner K. Shashikumar. The trio is thin on experience, with only Shubhang (four caps) having played First Class cricket.

Wicketkeeper-batter Sujay Sateri, who scored runs in the C.K. Nayudu under-23 Trophy, has been included in place of B.R. Sharath. Sharath Srinivas is the other wicketkeeper in the squad. Batter K.L. Rahul and pacer Prasidh Krishna are away on international duty.

The squad: Mayank Agarwal (Capt.), R. Samarth, Devdutt Padikkal, Nikin Jose (Vice-capt.), Manish Pandey, Shubhang Hegde, Sharath Srinivas, V. Vyshak, V. Koushik, Vidwath Kaverappa, K. Shashikumar, Sujay Sateri, D. Nischal, M. Venkatesh, Kishan Bedare, Rohit Kumar. Coach: P.V. Shashikanth. Bowling coach: Mansur Ali Khan. Fielding coach: Shabarish Mohan.



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