By a quirk of fate, the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) 2021 tournament itinerary mirrors that of the previous edition in 2019, in which Chepauk Super Gillies (CSG) was crowned champion.
Two-time title-winner CSG would hope to replicate the memorable run on the exact dates – from July 19 to August 15 – this year in TNPL Season 5 here. “August 15, 2019, was special for all of us at Super Gillies. If we can repeat it, that would be great,” said CSG head coach Hemang Badani, who has been an ever-present in the team’s dugout since the inception of the League in 2016. During an interaction with DT Next on Saturday, former India player Hemang outlined CSG’s plans for the forthcoming edition and spoke on the subject of TNPL.
The team has been training at the MA Chidambaram Stadium since July 9. How effective has the pre-season been so far?
The preparation has been good. We have got most things in order. The players are looking in good shape. There was concern that the players would be rusty because of lack of cricket and match practice. But, I am quite happy with the progress we have made.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the entire season of the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) will be hosted at the MAC Stadium. What are the pros and cons of playing all the matches at a single venue?
First and foremost, I must congratulate the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) for organising the TNPL in these tough times. We don’t have to travel amidst the pandemic and worry about the infection. If the matches had been scheduled at different venues, we would have had to structure the team according to the pitches on offer. In that sense, it is a plus point. It is also easier to recover after matches as we will be staying in the same hotel in Chennai. Besides these, we don’t have to pack our stuff and move from one airport to another in between matches. We will have to wait and see how the pitches behave as the tournament progresses. That will be a challenge. We will have to adapt quickly, be smart and change our gameplan. Although the TNPL will be held at one ground, the way we plan for matches will change as the tournament progresses.
Having retained the core from the 2019 title-winning squad, Chepauk Super Gillies (CSG) made valuable additions in the drafts. What is your assessment of the new arrivals?
Wicketkeeper-batsman Narayan Jagadeesan is a great addition to the side. He is the highest run-scorer in the TNPL. He has grown in stature as a player over the years and gone on to play in the Indian Premier League (IPL). He is hungry and wants to do well for CSG. On the whole, I am pretty happy with the team composition.
CSG is the most successful franchise in the tournament history and has no dearth of star performers in its TNPL Season 5 squad. Do you think that the team is prepared to handle the pressure of expectations?
In general, we, as a side, have never looked at past results and records. We have always tried to stay in the present. We look at playing good cricket and executing our plan. When things go according to plan, you are likely to have a positive result. We aren’t looking too far ahead. For us, it is more about executing what we have planned.
Is the Super Gillies contingent optimistic about going all the way in TNPL 2021?
We believe in getting on with our job. We know what needs to be done to play good cricket. If we play consistent cricket, we should get good results. I don’t want to make a comment now, saying ‘we will reach the TNPL final or win the cup this time’. If we play good cricket over a period of time, we will eventually get there.