Tinu Yohannan is a happy man.
“It is indeed great to see the boys after a gap of nearly a year,” he told Sportstar over phone from Alappuzha, where Kerala's probables for the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament assembled for a 10-day camp on Monday.
That, however, isn't the only reason behind the Kerala coach's happiness. He is glad that S. Sreesanth, on a comeback trail after serving a seven-year-ban for alleged spot-fixing, has joined the squad.
“It was nice to see that he still retained the fire in him,” said Tinu, who was the only one from Kerala to play Test cricket until Sreesanth came along. “He looks fit and we will be able to assess him better after we play a practice match among the probables here.”
He added Sreesanth's very presence in the squad would be an inspiration to the players. “He comes to this team with an experience of 27 Tests, 53 ODIs and 10 T20Is,” he said. “He has also been part of two World-Cup winning teams.”
Tinu is confident that his boys would do well in the T20 tournament to be held next month. Kerala is placed in a tough group, which also includes Mumbai, Delhi, Haryana and Puducherry. The matches will be held in Chennai.
“We cannot afford to take any team, even Puducherry, lightly” he said. “Anything can happen in a T20 match.”
He said Kerala was a pleasant mix of youth and experience. “We have established players like Sanju Samson, Robin Uthappa, Jalaj Saxena, Basil Thampi and Sreesanth, along with some promising youngsters like Rohan Kunnummal and N.P. Basil,” he said. “All the players are delighted that they could be back together on a cricket ground.”
He said he had been keeping in touch with them during the past few months when the players' training was impacted by the coronavirus. “But through the district associations, I was able to monitor their progress,” he said. “It seems everyone has been able to maintain their fitness well.”
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