Ranji Trophy: Rain keeps Tamil Nadu on the tenterhooks

Bad light and a persistent drizzle permitted only seven overs on day three of the Ranji duel at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium on Monday.

This was the scenario Tamil Nadu dreaded - inclement weather stopping proceedings just when the side was on top.   -  R. Ragu

This was the scenario Tamil Nadu dreaded - inclement weather stopping proceedings just when the side was on top.

Bad light and a persistent drizzle permitted only seven overs on day three of the Ranji duel at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium on Monday.

READ: Parvez Rasool in awe of ‘outstanding’ Jadeja

The host added 25 runs while losing two wickets to Tripura medium pacer Avijit Sarkar– Washington Sundar (159, 231b, 14x4, 1x6) was held at slip and Dinesh Karthik (5) was picked up at fine-leg.

Tamil Nadu was 99 ahead with the compact yet enterprising B. Indrajith on 89 (147b, 8x4). The home side, on 357 for four, could declare first thing on Tuesday. However, more rain has been forecast.

On a frustrating day when the covers were out, the ground staff toiled and the super-soppers were busy, Sportstar caught up with Tamil Nadu’s fielding coach R. Prasanna.

ALSO READ: Karnataka closes in on a victory over Assam

The former Tamil Nadu captain was a man for crunch situations; if the team was 40 for four on a green-seaming wicket up north, the left-handed Prasanna would invariably produce a valuable knock.

Prasanna also held sharp chances at slip, short-leg and silly point. He, now, is relishing his new role. Prasanna said, “Look at the catch J. Kousik took to dismiss Smit Patel. It lifted the side, gave the team energy.”

Prasanna identified players for key catching positions. “Aparajith at first slip, M. Vijay at second slip, and Indrajith at gully, they are really good. And Washington Sundar can be handy at point.”

ALSO READ: Vihari, Bhui tons give Andhra lead

What are the key attributes for a slipper? Prasanna observed, “Anticipation, ball sense, soft hands. You need to watch the ball from the time the bowler loads up.”

Asked about the tough slip catches, Prasanna replied, “The high reverse cup catches are hard because we don’t really have bouncy pitches here. Then, the low catches on wearing wickets can be difficult.”

In the crucial silly point and short-leg positions, Prasanna said Kaushik Gandhi and Indrajith had been shaping up well. “At short-leg for an off-spinner, a fielder needs to stop singles as well to create pressure.”

Although Vijay Shankar and J. Kousik were outstanding all-round fielders, Prasanna admitted Tamil Nadu needed to improve its out-fielding. “We are having 30-yard fielding drills to address the issue,” he said.

The side was also focussing on bringing the fielders closer – rather than stay deep - to narrow down the angles.

Prasanna is clearly on the ball.

BRIEF SCORES

Tripura 258 vs Tamil Nadu 357/4 in 88 overs ( Washington Sundar 159, Mukund 76, Indrajith 89*; Avijit 2/43, Gurinder 1/61)