Ranji Trophy: 'Fresh start' the mantra for Mukund

Tamil Nadu may never have defeated Mumbai away from home, but ahead of the semifinal in Rajkot between the sides, its captain Abhinav Mukund said, "History is what other players have played. This is a fresh start."

Tamil Nadu will play the game and not focus unnecessarily on its opponents, conveyed Abhinav Mukund.   -  C. V. Subrahmanyam

Going by the strength of the opposition, Tamil Nadu’s quarterfinal bout against Karnataka last week could well have been dubbed as the summit clash by even the staunchest of TN supporters. After stunning Karnataka inside two days, Tamil Nadu >faces the next challenge of dismantling Mumbai to reach the final.

But Abhinav Mukund, the TN captain, preferred to live in the present after his team’s last training session at the Saurashtra Cricket Association stadium here.

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“History is what other players have played. This is a fresh start,” he said, when pointed out that Tamil Nadu has not registered an outright victory against Mumbai away from home.

“A lot of people said this about Karnataka - which I wasn’t aware of - that we had not beaten them in knockouts or something like that. Then again, it is a fresh start, new ball, new wicket and new team. We are just going to go out there and do whatever we can do best.”

The leadership group of Abhinav, head coach Hrishikesh Kanitkar and bowling coach L. Balaji, with the aid of a senior pro like Dinesh Karthik, has managed to inculcate the policy of playing the opposition rather than opponents in a young team.

“The good thing about this team is that we are not too worried about the opponents because most of them haven’t played such opponents before and I am quite pleased with the fact that we were up against quite a strong Karnataka team and I think we did not play the players but played the game as it was,” Abhinav said.

Considering the lacklustre form of most of Mumbai regulars, it could serve Tamil Nadu better if it reverses the policy over the next five days.