TN cricket lacks quality and direction

It is time for Tamil Nadu cricket to move in a fresh direction with a new vision.

For most part of the Ranji and the Vijay Hazare competition, the side missed Dinesh Karthik, one senior who plays for the State with selflessness, heart and passion.   -  K.R. Deepak

The problems afflicting Tamil Nadu cricket are many. The lack of junior talent coming through, the commitment of the seniors, the nature of the pitches, misplaced priorities that have led to the calendar becoming increasingly cramped, and the shocking absence of quality in league cricket are factors that have combined to make the State side a ‘lightweight’ instead of the ‘feared opponent’ it once was.

Tamil Nadu has been eliminated from all formats this season, and in both the Ranji Trophy and the ongoing Vijay Hazare one-day tournament, the side has not even qualified from the league stage.

The batting has lacked character, the bowling has been without sting and several catches have been put down. And for most part of the Ranji and the Vijay Hazare competition, the side missed Dinesh Karthik, one senior who plays for the State with selflessness, heart and passion.

Selectors, team not on same page

The defending champion in the Vijay Hazare competition, Tamil Nadu suffered four defeats – at the hands of Goa, Mumbai, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra – in five matches.

Although the side has an inconsequential game remaining against Rajasthan on Tuesday, it simply cannot get worse than this for Tamil Nadu cricket. The time has come for the TNCA to act and take some tough decisions.

There was a distinct feeling during the “nightmarish” season that the selectors and the team-management were not on the same page on the selection of the eleven. The under-currents reflected a lack of harmony and trust.

Truth to tell, some of the choices in the eleven and the nature of the batting order, were baffling. If you have multi-dimensional cricketers, make full use of their additional skill, instead of limiting them.

Hrishikesh Kanitkar said some strong words about the side’s attitude after all was lost but then the coach had to crack the whip much, much earlier when a lot was there to be won.

Pitch perfect?

Tamil Nadu cricket faces a multitude of challenges. Young bowlers are not coming through and the bald, slow pitches in the city, from the school level to the first division league stage, and a ‘defensive mind-set’ from captains have to be blamed.

“The standard of first division league is pathetic now. And the surfaces are so uninspiring, they will neither produce worthy bowlers nor batsmen,” said a former Ranji cricketer, a fine player in his time, who did not want to be named.

Unless you have good, consistent bounce in the pitch, such a surface will encourage both pacemen and spinners and allow batsmen to play their strokes, well-rounded cricketers will not surface.

It is time for Tamil Nadu cricket to move in a fresh direction with a new vision.