Ranji Trophy: Murali Vijay boost for Tamil Nadu

While on paper, Tamil Nadu’s next three Ranji Trophy games — versus Odisha, Madhya Pradesh and Baroda — should be easy, the team finds itself in a tricky situation where it would at least need two outright wins to progress to the next stage.

With Murali Vijay returning to the national team, Tamil Nadu is likely ask Washington Sundar (in pic) to open the innings.   -  M. VEDHAN

For teams in the Ranji Trophy, a good result against Mumbai provides a huge boost for the rest of the tournament. And, Tamil Nadu will hope to carry that momentum into the second half of the tournament starting against Odisha here on Thursday, after pocketing three crucial points against the 40-time champions.

READ: Tamil Nadu's wicket-keeper dilemma

The team also received a last minute boost with M. Vijay, who was originally not in the squad, joining the side late on Wednesday night.

While on paper, TN’s next three games, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh and Baroda, should be easy, the team finds itself in a tricky situation where it would at least need two outright wins to progress ahead.

Previews:

Tripura vs Andhra

Mumbai vs Baroda

Bengal vs Vidarbha

Karnataka vs Delhi

Maharashtra vs Railways

TN was unlucky that its game against Tripura was affected by weather that cost the side a chance to pocket full points while Mumbai, MP and Andhra have all posted a win or two.

And it is something skipper Abhinav Mukund is quite aware of, but he hopes the momentum from the Mumbai game should help. “Beating Mumbai in Mumbai is obviously a big thing. We have built a fair bit of momentum and that will hold us in good stead.”

Tamil Nadu had a break in the last round and has had chance to regroup.

With Vijay in the squad the team won't have to tinker around with the batting line up. It is understood that the national team management wanted its batsmen to have one more match practice before the Sri Lanka series with Ajinkya Rahane also playing in Mumbai's 500th ranji match.

Vijay will join the India squad in Kolkata after this match.

When it comes to bowling, the team will carefully assess the wicket before deciding if it wants to play an extra spinner in R. Malolan, who is handy with the bat lower down the order or go for the extra pacer in either L. Vignesh or V. Lakshman.

When asked about how vital it is to score an outright win here, Abhinav said, “You can't go into a match thinking it is a full points game. Also this is the first time we are playing a six-match Ranji Trophy so until the last game we can't predict how many points will be needed. But when the opportunity is there, we should cash in and pounce on the opponents.”

The Squads:

Tamil Nadu: Abhinav Mukund (Captain), B. Indrajith  (V.Captain), M. Kaushik Gandhi, B. Aparajith, Vijay Shankar, N. Jagadeesan (W.K.), M.S. Washington Sundar, R. Sai Kishore, Rahil S. Shah, K. Vignesh, V. Yo Mahesh, L. Vignesh, R. Rohith (W.K.), V. Ganga Sridhar Raju, Malolan Rangarajan, V. Lakshman

Odisha: Sandeep Pattanaik, Natraj Behera, Santanu Mishra, Govinda Poddar (Captain), Subhranshu Senapati, Biplab Samantaray, Rajesh Dhuper (WK), Dhiraj Singh, Basant Mohanty (Vice-captain), Suryakant Pradha, Alok Sahoo, Alok Mangaraj, Deepak Behera, Ranjit Singh, Abinash Saha.

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