CHENNAI: When Tamil Nadu players were having their net session at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on the eve of their first clash against Gujarat in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, it looked as if they were ready to defend their title.
Fast forward five days. With just a win from four (they lost to MP on Friday), they are officially out of contention for the quarters. The team’s poor Ranji Trophy form has extended to limited-overs. Different team combinations and missing out on chances are a few reasons for their below-par performance.
In their four matches, Tamil Nadu have fielded four different combinations. That was because of different issues on different days. From Aswin Crist pulling out due to a niggle against Goa, to Kaushik Gandhi opening in the absence of Murali Vijay against Mumbai. With R Ashwin out of Saturday’s fixture, there will be another different playing XI.
Asked if accommodating national players hamper the combination, coach Kanitkar said: “It isn’t affected in any way because of that. It’s the same with any team that has national players. It’s about how the team gets to know each player and performs in certain conditions. “Somebody will miss out if you are bringing them in. They deserve to get a chance. I don’t think there was anything wrong with our team combination. Today’s team was best suited for the match.”
Irrespective of that, intent to win was missing. It was evident when they posted 302 against Madhya Pradesh but failed to defend it, giving away too many boundaries with slipshod fielding. One thing, though, that they couldn’t control was fatigue. So far, Vidarbha, Services, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are the only teams to have played four matches in five days. Only Services and Tamil Nadu have performed badly, with the former yet to win. “It does make a difference. But as a reason I don’t think we can give any excuse like that,” Kanitkar said.