Ravichandran Ashwin will lead a young Tamil Nadu team in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Twenty20 tournament. The State team's league matches start from February 21 in Surat.
The team does not feature the experienced M. Vijay, Abhinav Mukund, Baba Aparajith and Rahil Shah.
The team-management and the selectors wanted a youthful side for the competition. Selection panel chief S. Sharath told Sportstar , "It was an unanimous decision by the TNCA, the team-management and the selectors to leave out Vijay and the other senior cricketers. For the Twenty20 format, we wanted a lot of youthful energy on the field."
Sharath added, "This selection panel has a very high regard for Vijay. But we took the decision keeping in mind Twenty20 cricket and the advantage of youth.
Off-spinning all-rounder M.S. Washington Sundar, an influential cricketer in Twenty20 cricket, has recovered from his fitness concerns been named the vice-captain of the team.
The other interesting picks in the squad are the stylish left-hander, C. Hari Nishaanth, another top-order N.S. Chaturved, who had a productive TNPL, the big-hitting R. Vivek, and pace bowling all-rounder Abhishek Tanwar, following his excellent form in TNPL.
The side has a bunch of shot-makers in wicket-keeper batsman N. Jagadeesan, who can be used as a floater in the line-up, M. Shahrukh Khan, his off-spinners can be handy too, and Vivek. B. Indrajith lends solidity to batting.
The team is also rich in all-rounders with Ashwin, Vijay Shankar, Washington Sundar, J. Kousik and Abhishek Tanwar in the mix.
It is learnt that Koushik's exceptional fielding won him a close selection. Vijay Shankar, though, could be selected in the Indian team for the series against Australia.
Left-armer T. Natarajan, swing bowler M. Mohammed, slinger and death bowler Athisayaraj Davidson, Vijay Shankar, Tanwar and Kousik form a varied pace attack.
The spin bowling has variety too with Ashwin and Washington being the off-spinners, Sai Kishore, left-arm spinner and M. Ashwin, the leg-spinner.
After a disastrous Ranji season and Vijay Hazare, the Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament offers Tamil Nadu the last chance of some redemption in a season where things have gone terribly wrong.
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