The rectangular brown strip in the middle stands apart from the lush green outfield at the Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh International stadium here.
In Chhattisgarh’s last match against Andhra, the wicket proved to be a mirage for the home bowlers. It aided the opposition bowlers more, as the host lost by a big margin.
However, the defeat will not deter Chhattisgarh from maximising its home advantage when it plays Kerala in their Ranji Trophy Group B encounter here from Friday.
Medium pacers Ravi Kiran and Sourabh Majumdar’s effectiveness with the new ball has been the cornerstone of Chhattisgarh’s success this season. The duo have provided early breakthroughs, but Chhattisgarh’s backup bowlers haven’t always complimented the effort of the pace spearheads. Captain Amandeep Khare expects his team to come up with a collective effort to score full points against Kerala.
“We don’t have much choice but to go for a win against Kerala. The defeat against Andhra has put us in a must-win situation. But playing at home gives us an advantage as we know the conditions better. Kerala is a good side, and they have good players like Sanju Samson and Sachin Baby. But I have confidence in my team. We will play to our strength and will go all out,’’ said Khare.
With just five points from four matches and qualification chances in jeopardy, Kerala will look for a turnaround. Ruinous batting collapses have been the bane of Kerala this season.
Former captain Baby has stood tall but apart from Shreyas Gopal the top order has misfired. The return of Samson, who missed the last match against Bihar for personal reasons, will be a big boost for Kerala. Wicketkeeper batter Mohammed Azharuddeen has been added to the squad.
“We have ourselves to blame for this situation. Our batting has to come good, and honestly we haven’t played to our potential. We need to lift ourselves and try to win the remaining matches to stay alive in the competition,’’ said Kerala coach K. Venkatramana.