Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy: Aswin Crist included in Tamil Nadu squad

Dinesh Karthik will lead the 20-member squad named for the T20 tournament; fast bowler S. Jaganath Srinivas finds a spot.

Aswin Crist bowls during the Vijay Hazare Trophy final between Bengal and Tamil Nadu in New Delhi on March 20, 2017.   -  R. V. Moorthy

There was a time when Tamil Nadu played and won the Subbiah Pillai tournament, away from home, with just 12 players because the State Association wouldn’t permit more. And injuries meant it played the opening match with just 10 players and a local substitute. Interestingly, Tamil Nadu went on to win the title.

From that extreme to the present times. When Dinesh Karthik leads the team for the Syed Mushtaq Ali Twenty20 tournament - the matches in the group featuring Tamil Nadu will be held in Kolkata from January 10 to 19 - he will have 19 other players with him!

The 20-member squad is a direct consequence of COVID-19. Each team is going with five additional players since you can never tell who would be struck down by the virus. Tamil Nadu reached the final last season and is title contender this time, too.

“Dinesh Karthik is a positive captain, he is a dynamic person and is the ideal man to lead the side that is a good blend of seniors and younger cricketers,” selection panel chief S. Vasudevan told Sportstar on Wednesday.

‘Good balance’

The former Tamil Nadu Ranji Trophy-winning captain and his colleagues picked the squad in the afternoon. “This is the best squad from the available players. It has got good balance,” Vasudevan said.

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The team includes Aswin Crist who returns after three years, following a back surgery by the same Kiwi surgeon who performed the operation on former pace ace Shane Bond. Vasudevan said, “Crist bowled well and at a good pace in the two practice games. In fact, Crist and Sandeep Warrier were impressive.”

The selection panel chief said, “Many Tamil Nadu cricketers such as vice-captain Vijay Shankar, a talented player, have got experience in the IPL. Others have played in the TNPL. So they are used to the Twenty20 format.”

Vasudevan said, “Because there has not been much cricket this season, they are all very keen to play.”

The new face in the side is S. Jaganath Srinivas, a pace-bowling all-rounder who has impressed for the State in age-limit cricket. G. Periyasamy, a slinger with a potent yorker, is another exciting name in the side.

Tamil Nadu squad
  • Dinesh Karthik (captain), Vijay Shankar (vice-captain), B. Aparajith, B. Indrajith, M. Shahrukh Khan, C. Hari Nishaanth, N. Jagadeesan, K. B. Arun Karthick, Pradosh Ranjan Paul, M. Mohammad, Sandeep Warrier, M. Ashwin, R. Sai Kishore, M. Siddharth, Aswin Crist, L. Suryapprakash, R. S. Jaganath Srinivas, R. Sonu Yadav, J. Kousik, G. Periyasamy.

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