He was the skipper of the last Tamil Nadu team that triumphed in the Ranji Trophy in 1988. S. Vasudevan also heads the present State senior selection panel.
With Tamil Nadu beginning yet another quest for the elusive Ranji Trophy on Dec. 13 against Hyderabad, Vasudevan shared his views with Sportstar.
A left-arm spinner with flight, deception and a potent arm ball, Vasudevan claimed 214 first-class wickets at 24.38 apart from being a languidly graceful batter with two first class hundreds and an outrageously gifted slip catcher.
Always honest with his views, Vasudevan zeroed in on the State team drawing a blank in the Ranji Trophy since those glory days in 1988?
Vasudevan said, “We had solid preparation before the Ranji season. We used to have a two-month preparatory camp preceded by league cricket and the Buchi Babu tournament.”
He added, “Now we do not have Buchi Babu, the cricket calendar has got very cramped, and this has been a blow to our Ranji preparations. I have asked for the revival of the Buchi Babu tournament and I think it will happen next season.”
Another reason for Tamil Nadu’s victory in 1988 was the presence of all-rounders. “We had Robin Singh, L. Sivaramakrishnan, Bharat Arun and myself, all all-rounders. There was depth and balance in the side. Robin and LS made centuries in the final against Railways.”
And Vasudevan’s seven-wicket haul demolished Railways’ batting in the second innings.
“Now where have the majority of all-rounders gone? We have R. Ashwin and Washington Sundar, but they will be available only when free of National duties.”
On the mind-set of his team, Vasudevan said, “We enjoyed our cricket, whether batting, bowling or fielding. We did not play under any stress or pressure. We played with freedom.”
In this context, Vasudevan said, “Now our team seems to be playing under some stress and pressure. They should find more joy in their cricket, play fearlessly and the results will come.”
Vasudevan revealed a three-day practice match against Chattisgarh will be played before Tamil Nadu begins its Ranji campaign.
He called Tamil Nadu skipper B. Indrajith, a calm person and a prolific run-getter. B. Sudharsan, Affan Khader, Pradosh Ranjan Paul and N.S. Chaturved had both strokes and patience, left-arm spinner Ajith Ram has a good skill-set, while new boy Trilok Nag, all have been inducted in the squad, had pace, he said.
“This team has the potential to win the Ranji Trophy. It needs to believe in its own ability,’’ Vasudevan signed off.
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