Selection to training - many hurdles ahead of new domestic season

With the number of coronavirus positive cases rising, Tamil Nadu senior cricket team selection panel chief M. Senthilnathan sees a lot of hurdles along the way.

File photo of Tamil Nadu players (from left) Dinesh Karthik, Baba Indrajith and T. Natarajan during a training session in Chennai.   -  R. Ragu

When do we start? How do we start? Where do we start?

Tamil Nadu senior cricket team selection panel chief M. Senthilnathan is seeking answers to these questions ahead of a new season.

With the number of coronavirus positive cases spiking in the country, Senthil told Sportstar on Tuesday: “People’s life is under threat. Everyone is worried. The way we live our lives has changed. At this point, sports takes a back-seat. Saving lives is more important.”

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The lack of domestic competitions leading to the Ranji Trophy season has meant the State selectors will have to rely on last year’s performances. “This makes things more complicated. How do we assess form? Fortunately, we blooded around five promising cricketers last season so we have a pool of players now.”

Senthil sees a lot of hurdles along the way. The central government has not yet cleared the decks for cricketers to practise as a team.

“Cricket is a team sport. We need to train together, have nets together, have some practise matches between the probables at least. At this moment, I wonder how we are going to be able to do that,” Senthil said.

He added, “Nobody, the BCCI or the State association can be blamed for this situation. Who could have foreseen such a virus hitting us.”

Even if the Ranji season commenced, there will be challenges, Senthil said. “Firstly, the cricketers have to travel safely in flights without catching the infection.”

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Senthil asked, “And what if a player tests positive on the second day of a Ranji match? Would you put the entire team under a quarantine since the players share the dressing room? Then what happens to the match?”

Senthil, former India under-19 captain, felt the transition from under-16 to under-19 was extremely important. “It is from the under-19 group that we unearth first class players.”

He elaborated, “Now with the under-16 matches not happening, how can you bring in new players into the critical under-19 group?”

Senthil hopes there will be more clarity in the coming months. “Let’s all pray and hope for the best,” he signed off.

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