Tamil Nadu head coach Sulakshan Kulkarni was all praise for his bowling unit after the team qualified for the Vijay Hazare Trophy knockouts following a comprehensive win against Nagaland in its last league game.
“It was heartening to see the way the bowlers dominated right through the league stage. I am sure the same trend will persist in Rajkot,” Kulkarni told Sportstar at the Brabourne stadium on Tuesday.
While the Tamil Nadu bowling unit has been on song, the top-four batters failed to fire consistently in bowler-friendly conditions in Mumbai over the last fortnight. While Kulkarni admitted he was “a bit disappointed with the batting effort”, he was confident the batters will bounce back in Rajkot next week.
“The main thing while playing in Mumbai is to see off the first 10-15 overs. Most of our top-order got out in the first 20 overs. We have almost a dozen IPL (Indian Premier League) cricketers and they should play to their potential,” Kulkarni said.
“They should just stay at the crease for a while and then they can dominate. I am confident they will fire in the knockouts.”
Up next for Tamil Nadu will be Ranji Trophy powerhouse Mumbai in the quarterfinal, Kulkarni’s alma mater. The one-day giant will be without opener S. Sai Sudharsan and promising batter Pradosh Ranjan Paul, who will be in South Africa on India and India A duty, respectively.
“We will definitely miss these two batters but I am sure we have enough bench-strength to help,” Kulkarni said.
“It will be a contest between red-ball and white-ball legacy. Mumbai has won 41 Ranji Trophy titles whereas Tamil Nadu has won multiple white-ball titles, that too in the recent past. I am fortunate to have been able to coach both the teams.”
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