Tamil Nadu (TN), with just one point from three games, faces a steep climb to stay in contention for a berth in the next phase of the 2019-20 Ranji Trophy season.
Vijay Shankar, back at the helm after missing the last two matches due to injury, is confident that the team will claw its way back. Tamil Nadu will battle Uttar Pradesh as well as the conditions at the Green Park Stadium here from Friday.
"It's a long tournament and most of the matches have produced surprising results. Also, there’s nothing that is too far away or within reach. We are not going to think about that, instead we want to go out there and enjoy the cool conditions, the challenge and anything that's thrown at us," said the TN captain.
Going into the Uttar Pradesh game, he felt that the biggest plus was the way the team batted in the second innings against Madhya Pradesh at Indore last week.
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"We were pushed to a corner, but we showed great character and got that one point. It is within us and we will have to just try and repeat it. Most of the players are pretty young and they are learning.
"It's now about getting into the groove and doing well rather than thinking of qualifying. We are going to focus on what we can do and how to do better this time," Shankar said.
About the chilly weather, Shankar said: "I see this as an opportunity to enjoy rather than as an obstacle or a difficulty. But we need to quickly adapt to it because we don't get to play often in such conditions."
He also felt the young boys understood how important it was to represent Tamil Nadu.
"And now this is the right time for them to play to their potential and deliver for the State."
With the captain showing so much faith in them, it's time the young guns fired. The batsmen, in particular, need to occupy the crease for long periods and convert their starts instead of frittering them away. And they just need to look up to M. Kaushik Gandhi for motivation. Playing in his first match of the season, he saved the team against Madhya Pradesh with a brilliant 154.
Will the New Year bring about a change in Tamil Nadu's fortunes? Only time will tell.