Tanay Thyagarajan had a chance entry into the world of cricket. At 8, he was waiting at his school in Kolkata for his mother to pick him.
One day, she was late and the school coach who saw Tanay waiting there asked him to bowl a few balls. And, the young boy was spot on, hitting the good length spot where a hat was kept, consistently.
“Yes, that’s how my journey began as a left-arm spinner,” a smiling Tanay recalls.
Two decades later, Tanay joined the select band of Hyderabad cricketers like late Ghulam Ahmed, Kanwaljit Singh and Arshad Ayub who have taken than 13-wicket hauls in Ranji Trophy when the 28-year-old completed a match-winning 13 for 144 against Nagaland in the Ranji Trophy Plate Group semifinal at Rajiv Gandhi Stadium here on Sunday.
But, as has been the feature of Hyderabad cricketers this year, there were no wild celebrations either by him or by any of the centurions.
Even Tanmay Agarwal, who scored the fastest triple century in first-class cricket last month against Sikkim, didn’t even raise his bat!
“We are a group of players more committed to the team winning and not focussing on individual goals, honestly,” Tanay said in a chat with Sportstar.
“We don’t have personal goals. We wanted to make sure that when we get to the Elite Group. Show that we are at a higher level as a whole squad and take our game to the next level,” he said. “Honestly, after one bad season last year, we are back where we should be,” he added.
“Yes, it has been a learning experience. I believe that I am on the right track,” Tanay said.
“We want to be performing at this winning level in the Elite Group. Looking back, we are all really pleased that we are back to where we should be,” Tanay said.
“I feel my job in the team is to be the wicket-taker, I have been consciously trying to bowl wicket-taking deliveries not just in this Plate Group but in the next level of cricket too,” he said. “I have been in a constant process of improving. Focussed on being the wicket-taker,” he said.
“It is not that I have not tried some things in my bowling before. But, now I am able to be spot on in executing them and successfully too,” said Tanay who claimed 46 wickets this season so far to be the highest wicket-taker.
“The biggest motivation for all of us is to do exceptionally well to qualify for the Elite Group. We also wanted to make sure that when we get to that group we are at a higher level as a whole squad takes our game to the next level,” he said.
“I don’t think any performing cricketer in Plate Group should be disheartened by the general impression that performances here don’t get the same kind of recognition as those in the Elite Group. Whatever grade of cricket we play, as cricketers it is our job to go and perform, people outside are happy or not happy is not our job,” Tanay explained.
“I think my strong points are similar to that of the team never giving up. Our goals are very high. The coming three or four years are very crucial. So, nothing is going to disappoint us and there is no feeling that we cannot achieve this or that,” he said.
“I think full credit goes to our captain Tilak Varma for he brought a culture of giving all the importance to winning. And, with seniors like Tanmay, Rohit, Ravi Teja, CV Milind and the support staff with head coach Ravi Sir (D.B. Ravi Teja), Pavan Kumar, it has been a terrific atmosphere for all of us to go out and give our best,” Tanay said. “It is all about winning only and nothing else,” he added.
“I owe a lot to my coach Adnan Bafna who has been my mentor since I was 12 years and always insisted that wicket-taking balls are the most important in a bowler’s career and that’s what really helped me,” Tanay said.
“When we moved over to Hyderabad in 2007 because of my dad’s transfer, it was Abhijit Sir (Abhijit Chatterjee) who spotted me at Gymkhana Ground and briefed my family about the game and its structure and how I could be a good cricketer,” Tanay recalled.
“My favourite is Favourite Ravindra Jadeja for he is the complete template of a left-arm spinning allrounder,” he said.
“My goal is to help Hyderabad win trophies,” he signed off.
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