Karnataka coach Yere Goud expressed confidence that youngsters would step up in the absence of bigwigs Manish Pandey, K.L. Rahul and Mayank Agarwal in the Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy.

“We can’t replace those three players (Manish, Mayank and Rahul) because they are India players and a class apart,” he said. “But when we won the first Mushtaq Ali title two seasons ago, we didn’t have KL in the squad. So youngsters have shown that they can step up. They must see this as another opportunity to make a mark.”

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Goud’s confidence stems from his players’ performance in the recently concluded YS Ramaswamy Memorial Trophy and KSCA T20 league. “We watched the knockout games of both the tournaments and all of them played at their highest level in those games. So I feel we are ready.”

Karnataka is a two-time defending champion…

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