After being in quarantine for the past five days, Tinu Yohannan could finally pay a visit to the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in this quiet city in western India on Tuesday. And he was pleased – especially the pace bowler in him.
“There was quite a bit of grass on the wicket, so I feel the seamers could get some assistance,” the former India quick and current Kerala coach told Sportstar here on Tuesday. “And we have a good pace attack.”
Kerala opens its campaign in what is a truncated Ranji Trophy season with a match against Meghalaya, starting on Thursday. Tinu is delighted that India’s premier domestic tourney is on, even if it is going to be shorter.
“We were all disappointed when the tournament was postponed; the announcement had come during our training session at Krishnagiri (Wayanad),” said Tinu. “We feared there might not be Ranji Trophy this year either. And nobody could have blamed the BCCI in these times of the pandemic.”
He believes the cricket body deserves credit for its decision to go ahead with the Ranji Trophy. “With so many teams competing, it is not an easy tournament to conduct,” he said. “And I am really glad that red-ball cricket is back.”
He thinks it is a great opportunity for the players –the fringe ones especially. “When the Ranji Trophy was cancelled last year, many cricketers, including our own Jalaj Saxena, were disheartened,” he said. “They lost one year of cricket at a very crucial stage of their careers.”
Since not all cricketers get a chance to showcase their skills at the glamorous Indian Premier League (IPL), the Ranji Trophy is even more important for many. Tinu admitted he was disappointed that more Kerala players were not picked by the franchises at the recent mega auction.
“I thought S. Mithun was particularly unlucky,” said Tinu. “And I was surprised that nobody bought Sandeep Warrier [the seamer who now plays for Tamil Nadu].”
The coach is glad though that Kerala’s leading seamers Basil Thampi and K.M. Asif have joined Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings, respectively. “And it was great to see Vishnu Vinod being bought by Sunrisers Hyderabad,” he said. “He deserved it.”
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