New TN coach D. Vasu banking on seniors to step up

Newly-appointed Tamil Nadu team coach Diwakar Vasu called for the seniors in the side to set an example for the youngsters.

File Photo: Tamil Nadu players gather around for a team meeting ahead of the Ranji Trophy 2018-19 match against Delhi.   -  b. jothi ramalingam

Interestingly, Divakar Vasu was part of the Tamil Nadu squad that triumphed in the Ranji Trophy in 1987-88.

He recalls the heady moments after Tamil Nadu crushed Railways at Chepauk to win the prestigious title. “It was a wonderful feeling,” he told Sportstar, on Monday.

Tamil Nadu has not lifted the trophy of domestic supremacy since.

Now, Vasu’s mission is to guide Tamil Nadu to the Ranji title again while retaining his focus on the other formats.

The Director of the TNCA Academy not long ago, Vasu said, “We have the ability. But we need to win the big moments in the big games. That’s very important.”

Vasu seeks hundred per cent commitment from the senior cricketers as Tamil Nadu seeks to put two forgettable seasons behind. “The seniors have to give their everything, show the way and be an example for the younger bunch in the side. They have so much ability as cricketers.”

Known for his cricketing nous, Vasu attributed Tamil Nadu’s disappointments in the Ranji Trophy to both technical and mental reasons.

The man with 3001 runs and 240 wickets in first class cricket observed, “Technically we need to improve when we play away from home, particularly on the green pitches in northern India. Mentally, we have to get through tough situations and we have not always done that.”

READ | Diwakar Vasu appointed as Tamil Nadu coach

In this context, Vasu wants an one-on-one conversation with every cricketer in the team. “I want to know their state of mind, tell them what I expect from them as Tamil Nadu cricketers and get to know what they want from me.”

Vasu said, “It’s a proud thing, wearing the State cap. That feeling should drive the side.”

He conceded there were problem areas in bowling. Leading seamers had fitness issues and there was a lack of depth in the pace attack. A major roadblock.

Vasu noted, “I will ask for a status report on the fitness of all bowlers. There is some good talent around. For instance, G. Periyaswamy is someone with pace and swing. He reverse swung his yorkers in the TNPL with velocity. I think he will be a handful in any format, even on flat tracks.”

ALSO READ | Duleep Trophy: Porel, Tanveer rattle India Blue

Someone who could make the batsmen hurry their strokes with his left-arm pace during his time, Vasu said, “Speed is nice, but I think swing is more important, and it gets you wickets. I want to concentrate on swing.”

Turning his attention to spin bowling, Vasu said, “There are some good young left-armers around, Ajith Ram and Silambarasan among them.”

Vasu, however, felt the wrist spinners were not coming through. “They are an attacking option. I would like to see more of them.”

He plans to get motivational speakers and former cricketers to address the Tamil Nadu team. Vasu’s quest for a Ranji Trophy for Tamil Nadu has just begun.