Kanitkar: 'Abhinav is first choice captain'

Putting to rest all the brouhaha surrounding on who will lead Tamil Nadu in the upcoming Ranji Trophy, the selectors and head coach Hrishikesh Kanitkar have retained opening batsman Abhinav Mukund as the skipper. 

According to Hrishikesh Kanitkar, the decision to have Abhinav Mukund lead the side was an easy choice.   -  The Hindu

Putting to rest all the brouhaha surrounding on who will lead Tamil Nadu in the upcoming Ranji Trophy, the selectors and head coach Hrishikesh Kanitkar have retained opening batsman Abhinav Mukund as the skipper. 

According to Kanitkar, the decision to have Mukund lead the side was an easy choice. “Abhinav has done well in the past while leading the team and we didn’t want to take it away from him. There is no denying the fact that Vijay Shankar has done well in the shorter format but we have decided not to tinker with the leader’s role. Abhinav is tactically good in this format and had Vijay (Shankar) been available too, we would have still persisted with Mukund,” Kanitkar said.

READ: Ashwin, Vijay in TN Ranji Trophy squad

Fresh from a training camp at the Abhimanyu Cricket Academy in Dehradun, Kanitkar said the team is looking in great shape. “We focused on the basics. All the players were playing for their respective teams in the divisional leagues and they weren’t short of match practice. The main focus was on fitness ahead of this important season and I am happy with the way the players have got into the groove,” the coach added. 

With Tamil Nadu getting an extra home game against Tripura, the coach said it was an advantage for both the teams. “The light fades very quickly in that part of the country (Tripura) and having a full four-day game would have been tough. With this move that problem is eliminated as it is very important to get a complete game under your belt in Ranji. We hope to use it to an advantage,” Kanitkar explained.  

Tamil Nadu opens its Ranji Trophy campaign against Andhra Pradesh and with mainstay Y Venugopal Rao back in Andhra's fold, Kanitkar expects a tough opener. “It is the first match of the season and all teams would be raring to get a good start. The addition of Rao in the Andhra squad will make a difference as he has a good cricketing acumen. Having experienced internationals in our team is a shot in the arm for us, but we are in no mood to take any opponent light. We do not have too many changes from what we had last year. Selecting this team was not a tough choice at all. I can say the players just selected themselves,” Kanitkar laughed. 

The Tamil Nadu team had a gruelling training session at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium on Tuesday evening and will continue practice for the next few days ahead of the season’s opener.