Ranji Trophy: Tamil Nadu eyes better consistency against Railways

Tamil Nadu has just five points from five matches, while Railways has 13 from an equal number of games. The host will have to up its game come Sunday.

Lively left-armer T. Natarajan, likely to be the lone paceman in the Tamil Nadu XI on what could be a spinner friendly surface, can also create the rough for off-spin ace R. Ashwin to exploit.   -  R. Ragu

It’s time Tamil Nadu delivered collectively. So far, this Ranji season, the side has been performing in fits and starts.

Dinesh Karthik conjured a fabulous hundred in the marquee clash against Karnataka at Dindigul but there was none to support him. And when somebody else put his hand up for the side, the others did not respond. This is the hallmark of a struggling side.

READ| Ranji Trophy: Inconsistent Bengal takes on beleaguered Hyderabad

The host has to get its act together against Railways in the Ranji Elite clash beginning at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium from Sunday.

Tamil Nadu has just five points from five matches, while Railways has 13 from an equal number of games. Indeed, the different arms of this Tamil Nadu team have not moved in cohesion. And the team is coming up short at crunch times, unable to drive home its advantage.

READ| Ranji Trophy: Buoyant Kerala takes on struggling Rajasthan

The attack appears to run out of ideas when up against a right-left combination. Tamil Nadu has to find answers, even if it only has the slimmest of chances for qualification following a disastrous start.  

Lively left-armer T. Natarajan, likely to be the lone paceman in the XI on what could be a spinner friendly surface, can also create the rough for off-spin ace R. Ashwin to exploit.

Tamil Nadu has strength in batting but the likes of Abhinav Mukund, the Baba brothers,  Karthik, and the in-form Kaushik Gandhi will have to fire together. The emphasis should be on patience, right shot selection and building partnerships. 

READ| Ranji Trophy: Mumbai takes on Uttar Pradesh with knockout berth at stake

Railways is a combative team. The side, however, is not without chinks in batting. While Dinesh Mor is the leading scorer with 315 at 52.50, the next highest aggregate is that of Karn Sharma, better known for his leg-spin, with 244.

However, in a blow for Railways, Karn is grappling with a shoulder injury and is unavailable against Tamil Nadu. Railways has been dependent on its pacemen - Himanshu Sangwan (25 scalps), T. Pradeep (21) and Amit Mishra (21) - this season. The seamers will be tested here. 

Tamil Nadu has to develop a killer instinct. When it sees an opening, the side has to be ruthless.

  Dugout videos