It can be said with a fair degree of conviction that this Tamil Nadu team has plumbed the depths of the bottomless and dingy pit from where there is no escaping.
All the tall promises from the powers that be of the team being ready to turn a corner every time it hit a roadblock can now be put off sine die. How long and arduous a journey it will be for this group of players weighed down by the fatigue of defeat and loss of morale to get back onto the road to redemption is a question only a clairvoyant can answer.
The last season’s twin triumphs of Vijay Hazare and Deodhar Trophy already seem a distant memory from a bygone era. It was then touted as the dawn of a new era of resurgence. Twelve months on, it looks like the beginning of an end. As the season progressed, things devolved from bad to worse and finally to dire as what was thought of as an aberration when TN failed to progress beyond the group stage in this year’s Ranji Trophy became the rule rather than the exception.
After playing its part of a generous host where even ‘dark horses’ pranced and then trampled on it in its own territory, Tamil Nadu will look to wean itself away from that largesse when it hosts Team Rajasthan on Wednesday in the last of its Vijay Hazare Trophy match.
It may have been rendered an inconsequential match with both teams only trying to salvage some of the lost prestige — and there is quite a bit of salvaging to do — but TN coach Hrishikesh Kanitkar has asserted that his team would treat it with the sanctity it commands.
“Ashwin is back and he will be playing. Our regular captain Vijay Shankar has still not completely recovered from his back injury and he will miss out. We are disappointed that we haven’t qualified. It’s a new game and another List ‘A’ match. So, we will definitely give our best and look to end the tournament with a win,” he said. One can only hope that the virtues of resilience and gumption that Kanitkar keeps harping on will be amply demonstrated by a side that doesn’t seem to tire of losing.