That it came in his maiden assignment as head coach made the triumph all the more memorable. The win also helped Tamil Nadu avenge its one-run defeat to the same opponent at the same stage a couple of years ago. The former India spinner was basking in the glory of his wards, who rose to the occasion despite missing a couple of established players. Tamil Nadu also became the most successful team in the tournament with three titles to its credit. Lanky left-arm spinner R Sai Kishore played an instrumental role in propelling Tamil Nadu to its promised land and is hoping to raise the bar of consistency even higher.
Excerpts from the duo in a DT Next exclusive:
M Venkataramana, head coach: Retaining a title is always a difficult task. We put in a lot of hard work in the past one month. There were a lot of sacrifices. The boys worked hard on the field. We tried to improve our performance every day. We tried our best to fill the gaps, which were there in the team. We showcased our [best] game at the right time. Even during pressure situations, the boys were cool and able to perform to the best of their abilities. I am on cloud nine. It is a fantastic feeling [to win a trophy]. They boys have been raising their game and that is the best part of our journey.
R Sai Kishore, left-arm spinner: It feels good to play consistent cricket for a period of three years. It feels so satisfying. We had consistency in selection, good management and top players. Everything came together well. I just try to deliver my best for the team. When I try to do that, I make better decisions. I just tried to do what the team wanted [from me]. Luckily, it paid off. It feels good to contribute. I will enjoy this win for a day. There is more work to be done.