CSG skipper Kaushik raring to return to action

Boasting an array of match-winners in its roster, two-time champion Chepauk Super Gillies (CSG) could be the team to beat in the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) 2021, which is expected to get rolling in the fourth week of this month.
CSG skipper Kaushik raring to return to action

Chennai

Having bolstered an already enviable squad with the acquisition of three players in the draft, captain Kaushik Gandhi and head coach Hemang Badani possess the requisite tools for a record-extending third victory. Skipper Kaushik isn’t looking too far ahead and is quietly optimistic about his team’s prospects. During an interaction with DT Next, Tamil Nadu top-order batsman Kaushik also spoke about CSG’s preparations, squad depth and his return to action.
EXCERPTS
The fifth edition of the TNPL is about a fortnight away. Has Super Gillies begun on-field work for the upcoming season?
Cricket-wise, we are yet to start our preparations. We haven’t had the opportunity to practise because of COVID-related issues. We had a good draft in 2020 and made some valuable additions to the squad in the recent one. In terms of whatever is in our control, we have done well. The TNPL Season 5 will be a good experience as new faces will mix with the old ones. On paper, we have a very good side. But, it is important to go out there, express ourselves and play to our potential. We should not be lethargic and complacent just because we are the defending champion. We will have to take care of these things.
CSG was on a roll in TNPL 2019, clinching the title in style. So, how positive are you about defending the crown and adding a third trophy to the cabinet?
I am someone who doesn’t look beyond the next match. Right now, I am focussed only on our practice sessions that will start in a week. Then, I will take it match by match. If we take care of our processes and do the right things, our team will be in a good position at the end. When I approach a tournament, I don’t go into it thinking ‘I have to win this’. The processes should be in place and that is what I insist on.
Left-arm spinner R Sai Kishore and experienced pacer Sandeep Warrier are likely to miss the first few matches of the TNPL due to their national team commitment in Sri Lanka. Does Super Gillies have the squad depth to cope with their absence?
We have about six fast-bowling options and four left-arm spinners. Sandeep and Sai Kishore’s calibre cannot be replicated, but we have strong contenders to take their place in the eleven. I am sure that those players will do a good job. I am not worried about the unavailability of the two players. However, they will boost our team once they return.
You will join forces with head coach Hemang Badani for a second season running. Could you give us an insight into the coach-captain relationship?
If you look at Hemang’s record as head coach in the TNPL, it has been phenomenal. He has won it twice and finished runner-up once. I totally enjoyed working with him in 2019. When it comes to coaching, he is very professional. He doesn’t take personal relationships into account. He treats everyone equally, which is pretty important. He doesn’t give special preference, be it to the captain or to the 22nd and last member in the squad. I look forward to working a lot with him in the upcoming season.
Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, TNPL 2021 will be hosted in a bio-secure environment. Will local players, who have no prior bubble experience, find it difficult to adapt?
A lot of players have not had a taste of cricket for a long time. It has been more than a year since we last played. Only those who are a part of IPL and state teams would have got some games under their belt. I don’t think that the bubble life will have a big role to play. Everyone is itching to play cricket. All of us are hungry and motivated.

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