Mysuru: Without the services of the likes of KL Rahul and Robin Uthappa, Karnataka will be banking on their second line players to start the Ranji Trophy campaign on a winning note when they take on Assam on Saturday.
Karnataka will be pinning hopes on Mayank Agarwal, R Samarth, Mir Kaunain Abbas, Abhishek Reddy and Pawan Deshpande, to contribute with their bats, in the absence of Manish Pandey, Rahul and Karun Nair.
The trio might not be available for most matches due to national duty.
In the bowling department, Karnataka will be pinning hopes on captain Vinay Kumar and leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal.
The newly appointed head coach PV Shashikanth will being to bring back glory days to the state. It has not won any title in 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons ever since they had bagged six trophies from 2013 to 2015.
Shahshikanth, who led Karnataka to Irani Trophy title against Rest of India in 1996-97, has an advantage as he has known Vinay Kumar for a long time and enjoy a good rapport.
He also has worked with most of the players since their Under-19 days.
Shashikanth will be hoping Agarwal to step into the shoes of Uthappa.
Uthappa, who had captained Karnataka in the past, is playing for Saurashtra this year. He had scored tons of runs for the state.
Assam are coming into match after having forced a draw against Delhi last week, amid accusations of deliberate time wasting.
Known for their strong seam bowling, the quickies, being led by Abu Nechim Ahmed, will be hoping for some help from the pitch on the opening day.
Ahmed, who had bagged seven for 68 in the first innings against Delhi, will fancy his chances against Karnataka batting in the absence of their big guns.
Coach Lalchand Rajput would be glad over his team bagging a point against Delhi, which boasted of players like Gautam Gambhir and Ishant Sharma.
Meanwhile, threat of rain is looming large as Karnataka had to limit their training session to fielding in the afternoon due to overnight downpour.
Weathermen are predicting varying volumes of rains over next few days.
Teams (from): Karnataka: R Vinay Kumar (captain), R Samarth, Abhishek Reddy, Mayank Agarwal, Mir Kaunain Abbas, Pavan Deshpande, CM Gautam, Stuart Binny, K Gowtham, Abhimanyu Mithun, Sreenath Aravind, Shreyas Gopal, J Suchith, D Nischal, Sharath Srinivas (wicketkeeper), Ronit More.
Assam: Gokul Sharma (captain), Wasiqur Rahman, Abu Nechim Ahmed, Krishna Das, Arup Das, Swarupam Purkayastha, Kunal Saikia, Rishav Das, Pallav Das, Sibsankar Roy, Pritam Das,
Rahul Singh, Pritam Debnath, Tarjinder Singh and Sunzow Brahma