DINDIGUL: Among the many aspects of the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL), there’s one that has been quoted and reported into oblivion: providing players a stage to showcase their talent. The NPR College ground in Natham on Friday, though, had living proof to substantiate the talk that has revolved around this particular line of thought.
Meet Royal Challengers Bangalore performance analyst Sandeep Raju, who was in attendance during the clash between Ruby Trichy Warriors and Karaikudi Kaalai. “The next auction is a big one. We want to look at all tournaments and the different kinds of talent in them,” remarked Raju, who has been a part of the RCB think-tank since 2014, and has also donned the same role for India between 2013 and 2015.
“TNPL is one of those platforms where you can come and see where cricketers from TN stand, and then assess if they can play in the IPL.” With last week’s matches in Tirunelveli also figuring on his itinerary, a few players have caught Raju’s notice. “Like the commentators have been saying, Washington (Sundar) has been fantastic. R Sai Kishore too has been impressive. Antony Dhas was brilliant last night.” A cursory request for elaborating upon his job description throws quite some light on the intricacies of talent-scouting. “Everybody’s read or watched Moneyball. Numbers play a pivotal part in what we do.
There are quite a few systems behind quantifying the level of talent, and it differs from franchise to franchise,” said Raju, before launching into a detailed example. “I can pick a batsman based on his boundary-percentage, strike-rate, or average. That changes as per the role I have in mind. Say, if I’m looking for an opener, I’m going to take a close look at his strike-rate during the Powerplay.
Then, depending on how many boxes the players ticks off, decisions are made.” But, number-crunching is not the only skillset that helps Raju spot talents. “The reason why I’m at this venue and not watching this match on the television is that there are a few things that you can’t judge on the latter. By being at the venue, I can really see where a player stands.”
Karaikudi enter playoffs Karaikudi Kaalai overhauled an imposing target of 191 set by Ruby Trichy Warriors in Natham with six wickets to spare, in the process completing the highest chase in TNPL history and also qualifying for the playoffs.
Ruby Trichy Warriors 190/2 in 20 ovs (Bharath Shankar 112 no, Akkil Srinaath 37 no) lost to Karaikudi Kaalai 193/4 in 18.5 ovs (Srikkanth Anirudha 60).