Irani Cup: Skippers Pujara, Kanitkar bank on pace

Bangalore: They might be leading different teams, but Rest of India skipper Cheteshwar Pujara and his Rajasthan counterpart Hrishikesh Kanitkar have similar strategy for the Irani Cup tie —unleash their respective pace batteries on the opposition in the match starting here tomorrow.

Pujara said looking at the wicket the ROI team will go with three pacers.

"In initial couple of days our fast bowlers may get help from the wicket as we had seen in the Test match against New Zealand. It may later turn a bit. We would like to use it our advantage," he said.

Asked whether left-arm spinner Harmeet Singh, one of the heroes of last month's Under-19 World Cup triumph, would get a chance tomorrow, Pujara said the team management still had to decide on the playing eleven.

"We are holding a meeting this evening to discuss team composition for the match," he said.

Pujara said his team did not want to underestimate the opposition Rajasthan squad.

Pujara in this file photo. AFP

"We want to focus on our game rather than worrying about other team's positives and negatives," he said.

Pujara said he did not think there will be any problem for Rest of India to play as a unit as most of the players have played together in Test matches, ODIs and IPL matches.

Pujara said the Irani match against Rajasthan will provide a good base for Ajinkya Rahane and S Badrinath to perform and get confidence out of it.

On his captaincy, Pujara said he was not burdened with captaincy as he had a very good team and some experienced players who did not require guidance.

"I have been captaining India A side for the last couple of years and most of the players were part of it. I don't need to guide them much as they are experienced cricketers," he said.

Also pinning hope on pacers, Kanitkar said he would go with three fast bowlers as he expected the green pitch to help them.

"I think the wicket looks greenish and would help seamers. But it is a fair wicket," he added.

Kanitkar said Rajasthan wants to reverse the trend and beat Rest of India as they had done to win Ranji Trophy, after a gap of 76 years.

"Definitely we want to reverse the trend and beat ROI in Irani Cup. Till couple of seasons back, Rajasthan had never won Ranji in 76 years, but we won. Hopefully we will do the same against ROI in Irani match here," he said.

PTI