Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy: TN looks to regroup after Rajasthan mauling

The R. Ashwin-led Tamil Nadu takes on Bihar in Group B on Sunday.

R. Ashwin could bat higher up the order to lend stability to the innings.   -  M. Vedhan

Tamil Nadu has to get its act together quickly in a format where things happen fast. The side needs to think and act on its feet.

These Twenty20 matches can swing on very little and Tamil Nadu, after the mauling at the hands of Rajasthan, can ill afford another setback in the Syed Mushtaq Ali competition.  

R. Ashwin’s team might be meeting one of its easier Group 'B' adversaries in Bihar on Sunday but the opportunity should be utilised to plug the holes and get the game-plan right.

Looking back, Tamil Nadu should have done a lot better in the end overs of the Rajasthan innings when the side bled runs.

And someone like the young paceman R. Rohit was taken to the cleaners. While Rohit is not without promise, somebody with greater experience should have bowled at this vital phase where the match really got away from Tamil Nadu.

The side should find a way to include K. Vignesh in the eleven. Last year he was the ace in the Tamil Nadu pace pack before running into the injury roadblock at the beginning of this season.

Subsequently, he has struggled to rediscover rhythm but he continues to be lively, and, in this injury-hit Tamil Nadu pace attack lacking in speed and thrust, could be a welcome addition.

He could regain confidence against a team such as Bihar and then carry that momentum into the rest of the games.  

The batting has to be reorganised as well. A strong case can be made for the left-handed Washington Sundar to be opening the innings. He is a fluent natural striker of the ball who can clear the field or fire the ball through the gaps.

And in a line-up lacking experience, S. Anirudha could add value. The shot-maker was in fine form at the top of the order in the TNPL and still has the ability to influence the course of matches.

M. Shahrukh Khan, a compelling striker of the ball, is better suited to the middle-order than at the beginning of the innings.

Skipper Ashwin should also be batting higher than at No. 7 he surfaced in the first game. He was both innovative and assured at the crease during his brief innings against Rajasthan and could lend stability to the innings.

Bihar was brushed aside by Vidarbha in the first game but has some handy cricketers in left-arm spinner Aushutosh Aman, batsman M.D. Rahmatullah and leggie Samar Quadri.

Tamil Nadu cannot take things for granted.