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Shot in the arm for Tamil Nadu basketball

Tamil Nadu, more particularly Chennai, has five hoopsters in the ongoing Indian camp in New Delhi for the South Asia Basketball Championship in Maldives from May 18. This is throwback to the golden days of TN basketball in the early 2000s, when Asian All-Star Sozhasingarayer Robinson and a bunch of strong players guided the state to five consecutive title wins in the nationals.

Shot in the arm for Tamil Nadu basketball
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Arvind Annadurai towers over the rest in a tournament

Chennai

Indian Overseas Bank, Chennai has three players (Arvind Annadurai, Prasanna Venkatesh and Jeevanandam) and Income Tax, Chennai has two (Rikin Pethani and Akilan) in the camp. It remains to be seen how many of them will finally will make it to the final team which will be announced on Sunday before the team’s departure to Maldives on May 15. 

Indian are the defending champions in the championship and the team is wellserved by the formidable trio of Amjyot Singh, Amritpal Singh and Vishesh Briguvanshi. Forward S Prasanna Venkatesh had joined IOB in 2011. He had represented the Indian team in the 17th Asian Games at Incheon, Korea in 2014, Asia Cup at Wuhan, China in 2014 and Asia Cup at Tehran, Iran in 2016. 

Pivot Aravind Annadurai had represented the Indian team in South Asian Basketball championship at Bangalore during 2015-16, William Jones Cup at Chinese Taipei 2016 and Super Kung Sheong Cup International Championship at Hong Kong in 2017. “The camp has been going well here,” said Arvind from New Delhi. 

The third IOB player in the camp is the six feet eight inches tall P Jeevanandhan, also a pivot. A product from SDAT Chennai, Jeeva had played exceptionally well in the Senior National Championship at Pondicherry, IOB spotted Jeeva in 2015 and absorbed him in the team. In fact, the three players have been instrumental in IOB doing well in the nationals. 

Add Rikin Pethani and Akilan to the equation, Chennai will pose a stiff challenge to the aspirants from north of India. Rikin has just played in the United Basketball Association pro-league for Chennai Slam at the Sathyabama University and did reasonably well. 

Rikin is basically from Badlapur but ever since he shifted base to Chennai when he joined Sathyabama University for engineering, he has remained in Chennai. Indian Overseas Bank employed him first before Income Tax roped in the India star a couple of years ago.

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