The Tamil Nadu Ranji team's problems only keep growing. After outright defeats at the hands of Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh on its home turf in Dindigul, the list of cricketers not available for its next game against Madhya Pradesh, beginning in Indore on December 25, has only increased.
Crucially the side's spin spearhead R. Ashwin will not be available for the next two weeks since, according to TNCA, he has been asked by the BCCI to take a break from domestic cricket to undergo some tests.
R. Ashwin's absence is not the only blow for Tamil Nadu. Senior opener Abhinav Mukund is not available for the match due to personal reasons. And the hard-hitting Shahrukh Khan, who has hurt his little finger, is not a part of the squad too.
The trio has been replaced with Kaushik Gandhi, Hari Nishaanth and L. Suryapprakash, all top-order batsmen.
Asked why no off-spinner was picked with R. Ashwin unavailable, State selection panel chief M. Senthilnathan said candidly, "We expect Ashwin to play some India A games... in any case, we don't have too many off-spinners to pick from. We expect skipper B. Aparajith to bowl his off-spinners. And then the pitch might assist the seamers."
To make matters worse for Tamil Nadu, Washington Sundar, the off-spinning all-rounder, has been taking pain-killing injections on his finger and is not yet match-fit.
The team is already without experienced opener M. Vijay, grappling with a knee problem, senior pro Dinesh Karthik, nursing a wrist injury and its captain Vijay Shankar, down with a viral fever.
Senthilnathan said, "We can't erase the past. What has happened has happened. We are optimistic about future games. Actually, I am excited to see so much young fresh blood in the side. I am looking forward to seeing them in action, how they handle the pressure, respond to situations."
*The copy was corrected to remove any ambiguity pertaining to R Ashwin's availability for the Ranji games as he has been rested following a directive from the BCCI to the TNCA.
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