Kanitkar: A good reward for Tamil Nadu’s hard work

Describing the 2016-17 season and the teams Vijay Hazare title win, Kanitkar said, “It has been a a very good reward for all the hard work and effort we had put.”

"We are on the right road," says Tamil Nadu coach Kanitkar.   -  C. V. Subrahmanyam

Tamil Nadu’s record fifth Vijay Hazare title was a deserving reward for a consistent performance across formats this domestic season. After a poor outing in the 2015-16 season, the team hired former India cricketer Hrishikesh Kanitkar, who had led an unfancied Rajasthan side to two back-to-back Ranji titles few years back, as the head coach to turn things around.

The result was a semifinal finish in the Ranji Trophy and a runner-up spot in the zonal T20s before the title win on Monday.

Describing the season and the title win, Kanitkar said, “It has been a a very good reward for all the hard work and effort we had put.”

“Our philosophy is not to look at numbers but to focus on what is in our control, which is preparing well. If we are able to prepare at a high level — skill-wise — then the result will take care of itself.”

Starting on a wrong note

However, the season started off on a wrong note with an outright loss to Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy before conceding the first innings lead against Railways in the second game. It was after this Kanitkar had a chat with the team, a ‘quiet but firm talk’ as he put it, to rally the troop.

“The thing I told was this side is way too good to be playing this way.” TN came back strongly in the second innings to win the match and marched on.

But according to Kanitkar, the turning point came early, in the second innings in the match against Mumbai, where the team almost pulled off a win defending a modest total of 97.

“Despite losing that match, the way we fought back in the second innings showed we can do well. We came back strongly and almost won that match.”

On what his assessment was about the side when he took over, Kanitkar said, “I did not want to be judgemental about the players and instead wanted to be forming my own opinions. When I took over, it was great help to have Bala (L. Balaji) as part of the support staff. He was a sounding board for me.”

Speaking about the roadmap ahead, Kanitkar said, “We are learning every day, but it is important to be not good just for a season or two. We should see Mumbai’s record and keep that as long-term goal, but focus on getting a little better every day.”

“And we are on the right road,” said Kanitkar before signing off.

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