Team work the mantra for TN, says Kanitkar

Behind the success of Tamil Nadu in the current domestic season is the tireless and and selfless work of its support staff. Its coach Hrishikesh Kanitkar outlined the reasons for consistency in his team’s performances.

Hrishikesh Kanitkar...“The team is keen on making things happen.”   -  C.V. Subrahmanyam

The Tamil Nadu support staff is the silent force behind the team’s excellent showing this season. Excellent because the team has found ways to do well despite the absence of players like M. Vijay, Abhinav Mukund and R. Ashwin for a major part of the season. At the ongoing Vijay Hazare tournament, the team is on the verge of qualifying for the knockouts. It needs to beat Tripura on Monday to achieve that target.

The support staff – coach Hrishikesh Kanitkar, assistant coach L. Balaji and trainer Ramji Srinivasan – works tirelessly, and selflessly, to keep the players in their best shape. The focus is on team work.

“From the first game, I did not stress on individual performances. The message was to perform collectively because it was about the team and not an individual. I told the team on the first day that we win or lose as a team. It helped because the players learnt to accept their responsibility and came up with matured approach to situations of pressure,” Kanitkar said here.

Kanitkar, in the company of Balaji and Srinivasan, works on the mindset of the players, to enable them to understand the situation and adapt. “We have quite a few experienced players and all have been good in dealing with the challenges. The seniors have interacted so well with the juniors. There have been phases when we have not met the standards we had set but then we have learnt from every of those phases. Right from the first (Ranji Trophy) match against Mumbai (at Lahli) we have been consistent in our cricket. Winning or losing is part of the journey but we have maintained a level of consistency. The team is keen on making things happen,” stressed the Tamil Nadu coach.

‘Group of equals’

As a player, Kanitkar had picked up lessons from watching some of the greats of the game perform. “There is so much to learn. I can say from experience that respect from fellow players is very important. That has been the strong point of this team. As a team, we are a group of equals,” stated Kanitkar, in his first season as the Tamil Nadu coach after a stint with Goa.

Kanitkar has made the Tamil Nadu team realise the significance of staying positive. “We have missed quite a few players at various stages. (T) Natarajan and (K) Vignesh are not here but the team has delivered. (Vijay) Shankar has also missed a few players. We have missed key players but have learnt to play [to] our potential. (Dinesh) Karthik missed a few T20 games but we did not lose those matches. The team has never been complacent.”

The players have been doing their job well and the support staff has played its role to perfection. All would be on test against Tripura which has distinguished itself with three victories thus far. The key have been seamers Abhijit Sarkar (with 15 wickets) and Ajoy Sarkar (with 12 wickets). It is going to be a contest between Tripura bowlers and the frontline Tamil Nadu batsmen.

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