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Tamil Nadu’s joyride to domestic success

When Tamil Nadu commenced their domestic journey last September after the instant success of the Tamil Nadu Premier League, it looked as though the team lacked the proficiency and direction to make it big. The retirements of well-known names, like Lakshimpathy Balaji, further dented the hopes of Tamil Nadu’s progress to supremacy in the national circuit.

Tamil Nadu’s joyride to domestic success
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The TN team has had a tremendous run in the country?s premier tournaments

Chennai

Fast forward to six months and state cricket team is now the team to beat. A semi-final exit in the Ranji Trophy, runners-up in the zonal T20s and finalists in the Vijay Hazare ODI tournament. A win on Monday (in the Vijay Hazare final) and TN will find themselves in the Deodhar Trophy before they end a whirlwind domestic season. 

Tamil Nadu’s driving force behind the success is the team’s new coach — Hrishikesh Kanitkar. The former India player’s positive attitude combined with a strategically advanced approach has taken the team to new heights. 

Grouped with heavyweights Mumbai, Gujarat, Bengal and Punjab, Tamil Nadu’s progress to the knock-out stage was undoubtedly hard fought. The team started on a sour note, with a two-wicket loss to Mumbai but the start was just in stark contrast of what was to follow. 

“We are a talented bunch. No doubt about that. We knew we had the potential and when we combined these two attributes and played as a team, the results followed. We were beaten, bruised but we all stood together, learnt together and progressed,” team coach Kanitkar said. 

They endured the worst possible start to the domestic campaign after being shot out for 87 in their first innings against Mumbai, pulled their socks immediately to make a match of it. “That match, we showed that we aren’t dependant on a single player or seniors. Each player learnt from his, the team’s mistakes and stepped up to the plate to perform. When we started introspecting, all of us became better students of the game,” Kanitkar added.

According to Kanitkar, numbers and results were only secondary. “It was all about performing on that day. Winning, losing and taking the upper hand were never in our thoughts. We knew if we played to the best of our abilities and be the better team on that day, at that moment, our job was half done. It panned out beautifully and we succeeded in that,” he added. 

However, the team lacked the ‘little extra’ that was needed to cross the finish line and Kanitkar said the players already learnt their lessons. “We know where we lacked expertise. In sport, there is always scope for a better performance and we know we can keep getting better and better,” he said. 

On a personal front, Kanitkar has had a whale of a time. “The players, the support staff, the association have now become a part of my family. We have a good give and take relationship. They listened to me, I took their ideas and overall we are having a fun ride,” the coach added. 

TN PARTY IN FACTS AND FIGURES

A sneak-peek into how Tamil Nadu have performed in the national scene — from the Ranji Trophy to the Vijay Hazare Trophy, the team has made a mark beyond any doubt

RANJI TROPHY LEAGUE PHASE: 

vs Mumbai Rohtak Lost by two wickets 

vs Railways Bilaspur Won by 174 runs 

vs Uttar Pradesh Dharamsala Draw 

vs Madhya Pradesh Cuttack Draw 

vs Baroda Raipur Won by an innings and 44 runs 

vs Bengal Rajkot Draw 

vs Punjab Nagpur Draw 

vs Gujarat Belgavi Draw 

QUARTER-FINAL 

vs Karnataka Visakhapatnam Won by seven wickets 

SEMI-FINAL 

vs Mumbai Rajkot Lost by six wickets

  • HIGHEST TOTAL: 580/6 dec. vs Gujarat
  • MOST RUNS: Abhinav Mukund 849; Highest of 154
  • MOST HUNDREDS: Abhinav Mukund (4)
  • HIGHEST SCORE: Kaushik Gandhi (538 balls) vs Gujarat 202

ZONAL T20s

vs Karnataka won by four wickets 

vs Hyderabad lost by 72 runs 

vs Goa won by nine wickets 

vs Andhra won by 37 runs 

vs Kerala won by five wickets 

VIJAY HAZARE 

LEAGUE: 

vs Delhi won by 42 runs 

vs Uttar Pradesh won by seven wickets

vs Himachal Pradesh won by eight wickets

vs Maharashtra lost by 22 runs 

vs Kerala won by six wickets 

vs Tripura won by 262 runs 

QUARTER-FINAL 

vs Gujarat won by five wickets 

SEMI-FINAL 

vs Baroda won by six wickets

  • HIGHEST RUN-GETTER: Dinesh Karthik 495 runs Average 82.5
  • MOST WICKETS: A Aswin Crist 18 wickets Average 18.33 
  • MOST WICKETS: K Vignesh (37) 
  • BEST BOWLING IN A MATCH: K Vignesh 9/70 vs Mumbai (Rohtak)
  • BEST BOWLING IN AN INNINGS: A Aswin Crist 6/31 vs Karnataka (Visakhapatnam) 

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