Wednesday, December 2, 2015

TN shock defeat knocked out of Ranji 2015-16

'Prepare Quality wickets, Build the team for the long term, Take your eyes away from Qualifying and the Championship. Let that be the outcome of the cricket played - VB Chandrasekar, Former Ranji Captain and Coach

Batting let us down badly this season -  it has been very disappointing - Batting at Dindigul yesterday/today was Shocking - Sharath, Chief of TN Selection Committee

Will Abhinav Mukund Step down as TN Captain?

Bowled out twice in two days for sub 70 score at Dindigul, Tamil Nadu has been knocked out of this year's Ranji Championship 

Earlier this year, after losing the final to Karnataka in a miserable way, Captain Abhinav Mukund pointed out that it was no shame losing to a side like Karnataka. It was one of the most disappointing comments made by a TN captain especially given that TN v Karnataka for many decades has been one of the battles that players from both sides have fought with pride.

TN was supposedly a strong team on paper and while Karnataka were on a roll, this kind of a comment from a TN captain was poor.

Just over 6months later, TN has had a shocking season with a 5 session loss to Punjab at home knocking them out of the Ranji season this afternoon.  Turning tracks from day one combined with two wash outs have sent TN packing.

Nevertheless it will be worth looking back at the contributions made by the stars in the team. Abhinav Mukund who kind of stayed away from the captaincy to focus on his batting has had a terrible first full year as captain with several single digit scores including many ducks!!!!

Dinesh Karthik  has struggled as well except for a couple of big knocks. Prasanna, as has been his role, has tried his best to pull together the middle/ late middle order. Some of the newcomers into the side Indrajit, Vijay Shankar and Malolan have had their share of good knocks but consistency has been missing overall.

The bowling unit has largely depended on turning tracks but that has backfired on a couple of occasions including the one this week in Dindigul.

Coach M Sanjay has gone on record hitting out at the TN batsmen for their failure at Dindigul in the last league match that concluded this afternoon with TN crashing to defeat.

It is co-incidental that far away in Patiala (the home town of Rajwinder Galu who picked up 6wickets in the 1st innings) the TN U 19 team crashed to a huge innings defeat being bowled out for below 100 in both innings after conceding over 500runs. The seniors have met with almost a similar fate just a day later being bowled out in the 60s in both the innings in just one session in each innings.

A former TN all rounder and coach has been saying for a few years now that the system of first division league cricket has to be reviewed and made really competitive so it stands them in good stead when they go into the Ranji season.

Around the same period, Bombay has registered a couple of amazing come back wins fighting their way through tough times. Karnataka has not depended on doctored pitches to win matches.

It is time that TNCA took a serious call on the way it looks at its league system and makes it an enabler to get quality cricketers into their fray. Like Badrinath said a few years ago, a lot of them have had it far too easy in the last few years.

Flat tracks and runs and turning tracks and wickets have been two extremes but all too familiar scenarios in both local league cricket and Ranji cricket for TN.

With the poor season that he has had, it might be time for Abhinav to resign as captain taking the responsibility for the loss both as a batsman as well as the captain. It might be a call too soon but he might be better off focusing on his batting and getting some runs back. In hindsight he may have done well to postpone the acceptance of his captaincy by a few more years!!!!

Build the team for the Future
Soon after Tamil Nadu's shocking defeat in the final league match, Former Ranji Captain VB Chandrasekar ( TN and Goa), in his typical belligerent style, spoke candidly to prtraveller on the way forward for TN cricket and 'why we are missing the bus'.

VBC watched the first match of the season from the commentary box makes an important observation. He wanted the team to stop this thought process of 'desperately want to qualify' / 'want to win the Championship'.  STOP THE THOUGHT OF QUALIFYING, he says.

VBC suggested that the team should instead focus on playing good quality cricket and the score board will automatically take care of itself. He says currently the scoreboard pressure is clearly telling on the players.

TNCA should focus on building the team for the next 2-3 years and away from the qualifying mindset. Based on what he saw in the first match of the season, he says the team has potential to build on but wonders as to how one could lose after a lead of 100+. It is all in the mind. And if you perpetually have such rank turners from the first morning, you are taking away the opportunity for your batsmen to build their patience which is such an important ingredient for a quality batsman.

Also, he is keen that the team plays on quality pitches that offer everyone an opportunity to showcase their talent. Currently, on turning tracks, the TN players are losing out on building the patience levels with the batsman not knowing if they will last the next over. And even players like Dinesh and Abhinav are becoming a casualty in this spinner friendly tracks.

One of the important facets of batting is to have the ability to build an innings. That aspect is sorely missing and he attributes that to the kind of pitches that are being prepared.

He says that in his four decades of watching /playing cricket he has rarely seen Bombay prepare such wickets. Neither has Karnataka. Also, he says that in his time very rarely did matches end in under two days which is kind of becoming a normal phenomenon here these days.

VBC has a strong message for the cricket administration in TN - Prepare Quality wickets, build the team for the long term, take your eyes away from Qualifying and the Championship. Let that be the outcome of the cricket played. And you will suddenly see the players fulfilling their potential
(VBC should know that well for in his playing days, he helped groom and bloom the inherent talent  in several TN players).

Quality of Batting at Dindigul was Shocking - Chairman of TN Selection Committee

One can sense the frustration in S Shararth. For a 100 matches, he gave his life for the state in the 90s and 2000s. And to find his state side being bowled out twice for 60s is something he is just not able to digest.

Hitting out at his players, Sharath told prtraveller that it is time to stop blaming everyone around and to take the onus on themselves. 'You cannot blame coach, selectors and administrators all the time.'

It is time for some soul searching among the players. They have to take accountability and responsibility and take pride in bringing laurels to the state.The Mindset has to change. Where are the fighting qualities, he asks.

A disappointed Chairman of Selectors said 'I am just too shocked in the way they got out in both innings. This is just not on. We have to pull up our socks.' 

On Abhinav Mukund, Sharath said that he has had a pretty dull season with the bat. He will be the first person to agree that they have played poor cricket. The team generally looked up to him as a star player but he did not get the runs this season that we all expected him to get. I still back him.and  am confident he will come back. He has just gone through a bad patch. He is too good a player. Otherwise he cannot average 50+.'

He pointed out that J Koushik has been one plus point for TN. He also had words of praise for DT Chandrasekar, Aswin Crist and Mohammad. But he refused to name a single batsman when asked if he was happy with the performance of any of the batsmen.

When probed further, he said that 'his silence answers the question.'


ramblerspost said...

When money and such other distractions take over, things like pride disappear. Having grown up during the glory days of TN cricket, watching stalwarts like VV, Venkat, TE, Kalli and so on, it is painful to see the depths to which things have descended. Very sad.

Anonymous said...

Below are some points I think TNCA should consider in order to turn things around and develop all round players who can do well in all conditions:

1. Skill groups - the face of TN cricket is changing and you have a very young team making a transition into senior cricket now. They need better preparation than in the past. We have got to select our 15 top batsmen and get them training right from August (as soon as the 1st phase of 1st div ends) and plan the training sessions in a way where the skills of the batsmen are tested and challenged, thereby helping them learn and evolve. Similarly we will have to have a group of bowlers doing the same, In an ideal world, we should have 3 groups - Batting group, Seam and Fast bowling group, Spin bowling group doing atleast a 6 week program where they can fine tune their fitness and skills. Not only does this help their game, but this will help them get closer to one another and get to know one another better. For a young team, nothing works better than sharing a close bond as energy will then flow infectiously for everyone to see.

2. Allow some of your players to play in UK, Australian and NZ leagues (club cricket) - To me, this is the biggest differentiator that will help a player grow. A lot of our players are currently held up with their corporate owners of 1st div teams who emphasize on the players playing 1st div cricket for them. Again, this is out of the greed of them wanting success at the 1st div level. The UK season (april - september) directly co incides with our 1st div season (1st half). TNCA and 1st Div clubs should allow/ permit some of our top players to go and play in UK leagues during this time. Players will be challenged in a different condition and more often than not return better players. Not only do they have to adapt their games to the different playing conditions, they will also have to adapt their minds to mental side to the different challenges as most clubs would look upto their overseas players to get them positive results. This will help the players become better leaders and also help them look forward to any challenge thrown at them.

From a skill perspective, batsmen's game will become tighter technically and they would be exposed to different pitches which can be quite challenging to bat on and succeed. Similarly for the bowlers. Our fast bowlers will benefit going away to UK or Australia and NZ where the pitches will be more seam bowling condusive, hence our bowlers can return more confident as against playing in Chennai and working hard for their wickets week in, week out on flat wickets. Spin bowlers in my mind are the ones who can benefit the most. They will be expected to take wickets on all kind of pitches (flat, green, damp etc). This way, they will learn to bowl differently on different kinds of wickets hence making them more confident in their trade. They will learn more about their game during their 6 months away than what they will playing 3 or 4 seasons of 1st div cricket in Chennai. Australia and New Zealand will test our players and help us improve too.

A big reason for Mumbai cricket s success in my eyes is also due to a number of their players playing league cricket in UK. Wasim Jaffer has been playing in UK for the last 12 years now. Pravin Tambe (late bloomer) has spent the last 10 years playing in UK. Rajat Bhatia has played in the UK for the last 12 years. It is no new news that many of our Ex Indian cricketers like Zaheer Khan, Anil Kumble and Sreeshanth attribute their success to their county stints. Even Abhinav Mukund benefitted last year when he spent 3 months in Leicester playing club cricket. My own game became a lot better only after I stepped outside India. Not only will they become better players, but they will become better professionals

I think it is high time TNCA starts to think about the development of players and thinks outside of the box.

Sriram Krishnamurthy

Anonymous said...

why was not Sargunan not picked despite all his league runs?

KS said...

Totally agree that this team is lacking the never say die attitude. The defeat to Mumbai is a classic case, where the team after getting the first innings lead, became complacent and played for the first innings points, rather than going for the victory.

Having said that, J Kousik is a great find for the team. Malolan has been consistent. However its time DK, Vijay Shankar and Abhinav raise their bar. Time for Prasanna to hang his boots for TN and time to bring back Arun Karthik, who has been prolific this season for Assam.