Vijay Hazare: TN bowling coach Balaji confident of strong show

Tamil Nadu bowling coach Lakshmipathy Balaji is confident that his bowling unit will deliver in the upcoming Vijay Hazare Trophy.

Along with an able pace department, L. Balaji is also confident in his spinners Rahil Shah and Sai Kishore.   -  M. Vedhan

It’s a new season and fresh challenges await Lakshmipathy Balaji. As the Tamil Nadu bowling coach, Balaji realises the value of a good beginning. Ahead of the Chennai-leg of the Vijay Hazare Trophy, the former India paceman is confident his bowling group will deliver.

Balaji said on Sunday, “We have a good mix. I am happy K. Vignesh had a good Duleep Trophy. He is a rhythm bowler, has some pace and moves the ball. He adapts well to white ball cricket.”

The man affectionately called “Bala bhai” is delighted the fit-again left-arm seamer T. Natarajan is hitting his straps.

Bala said, “Vignesh-Natarajan is a right-left combination. The angles are different. Importantly, both bowl up to the batsmen, make them play. Once you do that, you pick wickets.”

He believed Natarajan had evolved. “He is a more crafty bowler these days, reads situations better.”

Bala liked the first looks of the new kid on the block S. Sharun Kumar. “He reminds me of myself when I was young. He is wiry, tall, has a high-arm action, hits a length and the seam is upright. There is zip off the wicket for him.”

“Sharun is a boy from the districts. We have to make him feel comfortable in the Tamil Nadu set-up,” he added.

Then, there is the experienced M. Mohammed. “He is different in the sense he has a whippy action and bowls a bit off the wrong foot.” Completing the pace pack will be skipper Vijay Shankar. “He is a batting all-rounder but has come on with the ball.”

In the spin attack, Bala was confident that the two left-armers, Rahil Shah and Sai Kishore would deliver. “When we won the Vijay Hazare and Deodhar Trophies in 2016-17, both bowled well. They are different bowlers.”

On fresh face C.V. Varun, Balaji said, “He has the action of a leg-spinner, bowls the googly. Varun also sends down the carrom ball and the leg-cutter.”

Balaji is optimistic that his bowling group will hunt as a pack.