Ranji Trophy: Tamil nadu coach Venkataramana optimistic despite missing seasoned campaigners

As Tamil Nadu enters a new era without the likes of Abhinav Mukund, Murali Vijay and Dinesh Karthik, coach M. Venkataramana feels the team has the resources in all departments to tide over their absence.

FILE PHOTO: Venkataramana, coach of the Tamil Nadu team, will lead the quest for the elusive Ranji Trophy.   -  THE HINDU

When Tamil Nadu last triumphed in the Ranji Trophy - in the 1987-88 season - M. Venkataramana emerged the Man of the Final with his sharp off-spin.

Since then, despite some appearances in the final, the Ranji Trophy has eluded the State side. An entire generation of Tamil Nadu cricketers does not know what it is like to win the much-cherished trophy.

Now, Venkataramana, as coach of the Tamil Nadu team, will lead the quest for the elusive Ranji Trophy.

Speaking to Sportstar from Guwahati, where the team will play its group matches from February 17 - Delhi, Jharkhand and Chattisgarh have been grouped with Tamil Nadu - Venkataramana stressed two aspects for red-ball cricket - patience and control over long periods of play.

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Tamil Nadu had a fine run in white-ball cricket, winning the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and reaching the final of the Vijay Hazare Trophy.

Venkataramana, though, feels red-ball cricket is a different ball game. “The ball will reverse. Spinners will have greater purchase.”

The Tamil Nadu coach believes batting big in the first innings and building long partnerships are vital.

Tamil Nadu cricket is entering a new era without seasoned campaigners Abhinav Mukund, Murali Vijay and Dinesh Karthik.

Venkataramana has faith in his men. “We have the ability. Kaushik Gandhi, Sai Sudarsan, Ganga Sridhar Raju, and L. Suryaprakash make up the top order.”

The Tamil Nadu coach added, “Then we have Baba Aparajith, Baba Indrajith, skipper Vijay Shankar and N. Jagadeesan in the middle-order. The big-hitting Shahrukh Khan is available as well.”

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Venkataramana said, “We have pacemen, Sandeep Warrier, Aswin Crist, Saravana Kumar, L. Vignesh and R. Silambarasan. The matches start early (at 8.30 AM) there will be nip in the air and the seamers should do well.”

The side, though, is not balanced in the spin department. It has two left-arm spinners of contrasting methods - R. Sai Kishore and M. Siddharth - but no off-spinner or leg-spinner.

Ravichandran Ashwin is preparing for the Sri Lanka Test series and Washington Sundar is away on India duty.

Venkataramana said, “Aparajith has been bowling some good off-spin at the nets. He should be handy in the match. The team has several multi-dimensional cricketers who lend it balance and depth.”

The astute Venkataramana however comprehends, for a team to deliver, it has to win the key moments.

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