Vijay Shankar likely to be named TN skipper

Pace-bowling all-rounder Vijay Shankar is likely to be named Tamil Nadu Ranji captain for the coming season. It has been learnt from reliable sources that Abhinav Mukund, who led the side to Ranji semifinals last season, wants a break from captaincy to focus on his batting.

Pace-bowling all-rounder Vijay Shankar is likely to be named Tamil Nadu Ranji captain for the coming season.   -  B. JOTHI RAMALINGAM

Pace-bowling all-rounder Vijay Shankar is likely to be named Tamil Nadu Ranji captain for the coming season. It has been learnt from reliable sources that Abhinav Mukund, who led the side to Ranji semifinals last season, wants a break from captaincy to focus on his batting.

There are chances too that Abhinav could be picked in the Indian squad as a reserve opener for the home Test series against Sri Lanka in November-December; the dates will clash with that of the Ranji Trophy.

The 26-year-old Vijay Shankar — he has 1553 runs (ave. 50.09) and 21 wickets in 29 first class matches — has improved his pace and control over the last year.

Crucially, Vijay Shankar captained the side to title triumphs in the Vijay Hazare and Deodhar Trophies last season.

Vijay Shankar appeared comfortable with captaincy, rotated the bowlers capably, and the extra burden did not impact his personal performances. He spent a couple of weeks at the NCA tending to a twisted ankle but is back in Chennai after being declared full fit. Vijay Shankar will join the on-going conditioning camp of the Tamil Nadu probables in Dehradun on Friday.

Three ingredients work in his favour for the top job - Vijay Shankar is certain of his place in the eleven, has `winning’ experience of State captaincy in the shorter formats and shares a healthy rapport both with the seniors and the younger bunch.

Baba Indrajith, who notched up a Duleep double hundred recently, is the front-runner for vice-captaincy.