Within a span of a year, limited overs captain Dinesh Karthik turned a struggling Tamil Nadu team into a unit that remains a tough nut to crack.
While talking to mediapersons during a promotional event here on Saturday, Karthik explained the reason behind taking such a decision. “Tamil Nadu has had various skippers over the years. The captaincy shouldn’t be just for this year, it must be at least for a couple more,” Karthik told reporters.
“It’s time for someone young and fresh to take Tamil Nadu forward. Vijay Shankar has had success in Vijay Hazare and has rightly been appointed the captain,” he said. There was speculation that the experienced campaigner would pick and choose his matches during the duration of the Ranji Trophy.
But, Karthik quashed such rumours and asserted he is focussed on the first two assignments, against southern rival Karnataka (in Dindigul) and Himachal Pradesh (in Tirunelveli). “We will take it as it comes. Tamil Nadu is placed in a tough group and will have some challenging matches. But the side will put its best foot forward.”
It’s been more than 30 years since Tamil Nadu last lifted the Ranji Trophy (1987-88). While backing young guns such as Washington Sundar, Baba Aparajith and Baba Indrajith to end the long drought, the India international felt it would take a bit of time for Tamil Nadu to get to the top of the ladder.
“They must start thinking ‘Which is the way Tamil Nadu should play in order to clinch the Ranji Trophy?’” The senior players must do the small roles of helping them,” remarked the Kolkata Knight Riders captain. Although the state team fell agonisingly close in the last two events, Karthik stated Tamil Nadu goes into the long-format competition with belief.
“We have the ability to handle pressure. Once we lost the first Super League game in Syed Mushtaq Ali, every match became a knockout. The way we did well in crunch clashes is something we will take into the Ranji Trophy. We have the attitude and hunger. It’s about going and delivering now,” signed off Karthik.