There was a distinct buzz at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium on Wednesday morning. As the sun beat down on the 'B' ground, men in yellow and white took turns to practise their skills at a net session ahead of Tamil Nadu's first Ranji Trophy match against Andhra Pradesh on October 6.
However, it was R. Sai Kishore, a lanky left-arm tweaker, who grabbed the attention very quickly. Unperturbed by the likes of Ravichandran Ashwin, Murali Vijay, Dinesh Karthik and Abhinav Mukund, the spinner went on to unleash a barrage of deliveries to the batsmen, with some beating them all ends up and others landing on the good length forcing a defensive prod.
The dedication and the commitment was visible in Kishore's body language. Gunning to make his Ranji Trophy debut, Kishore is keen to make the training sessions count, especially with four India internationals around him.
"I haven't been told anything about my debut yet. I am enjoying this phase. It is good to be in the mix of things, especially when the international players are around. I have a lot to look and imbibe," Kishore said, after a gruelling session.
A top-notch T20 bowler — Kishore has impressed with the ball in the two editions of the Tamil Nadu Premier League, finishing as one of the leading wicket-takers for Chepauk Super Gillies — the spinner feels he has the mettle to play the longest format of the game. "I think I have the patience and the temperament needed for this format.
"I have the adaptability required to shift from one format to the other. I have also been in the thick of things, playing the TNCA league games and the Buchi Babu games, so I am always in the groove," the spinner explained.
Kishore said he was looking forward to learning the tricks of the trade from India's spin spearhead-Ashwin. "There is so much that one can just see and absorb from Ashwin. Specifically, I want to learn how to read wickets quickly and read the batsman's mind better, which Ashwin is a pro at," Kishore said.
The 21-year-old, who was in the Ranji Trophy probables last year but failed to make the cut, admitted that there was a vast difference between last year and this year. "I am more aware of how to handle situations better this year. Last year, I wasn't quite there with the mental scheme of things. I am now good at pre-empting things. I am now well prepared to make the cut," Kishore added.
Pointing out the difference he has seen between the T20 and the longer format of the game, Kishore acknowledged that the shortest format was the easier pick. "I am always the one to go for wickets. In a T20 game, the batsman is already out of his shell. So the job (to get wickets) is a little easy. In this format, you need to bring the batsman out of his shell and then go for wickets. That is a major difference.
"It is all about patience and waiting for things to happen. Whatever happens in four overs there happens in about 15 overs here," he said in a mature tone before signing off.