Karun Nair has been named as the new captain of the Karnataka team for the forthcoming Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy (SMAT) 2021, which is the premier domestic T20 tournament in India.
Last season’s winners, Karnataka will begin their title defence in the opening match of the tournament on 10th January when they take on Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). The final is slated for 31st January.
The group matches are scheduled in 6 different cities – Bangalore, Kolkata, Vadodara, Indore, Mumbai, and Chennai – adhering to the bio-bubble protocols. The quarter-finals, semi-finals, and then the final will be played at the newly built 110,000-seater Motera stadium in Ahmedabad.
Karun Nair to lead Karnataka; KL Rahul, Manish Pandey miss out from SMAT 2021
Manish Pandey has been ruled out of the SMAT 2021 owing to an elbow injury he sustained in the T20I against Australia. Hence, Nair has been appointed the skipper for the tournament. Pavan Deshpande, who recently led the Vultures CC to a title win in the KSCA T20 League Tournament 2020 has been named as the vice-captain of the team.
Karnataka will miss the services of KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal, as both the openers are currently in Australia with the Indian team.
However, the defending champions have retained the likes of Devdutt Padikkal, Prasidh Krishna, Krishnappa Gowtham and Shreyas Gopal. Last seasons star batsman, Padikkal was the highest run-scorer for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL 2020- scoring even more than the likes of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers.
Young wicket-keeper batsman KL Shrijith and left-arm spinner Shubhang Hegde have been given maiden call-ups to the Karnataka team.
Karnataka is placed in Group A alongside Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Railways, Jammu & Kashmir and Tripura, and will play their group matches at the KSCA Cricket Ground in Alur.
Karnataka squad for Syed Mushtaq Ali 2021:
Karun Nair (C), Pavan Deshpande (VC), Devdutt Padikkal, Roham Kadam, KV Siddharth, KL Shrijith, BR Sharath, Anirudha Joshi, Shreyas Gopal, Krishnappa Gowtham, Jagadeesha Suchith, Pravin Dubey, Abhimanyu Mithun, Prasidh Krishna, Prateek Jain, V Koushik, Ronit More, Darshan MB, Manoj Bhandage, Shubhang Hegde.