CHENNAI: Most key members of the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) who are part of the executive committee (EC) that runs the association are upset with Tamil Nadu’s poor show this season, in particular the Vijay Hazare tournament. All their matches were at home.
Their opinions regarding coach Hrishikesh Kanitkar’s role were divided. “We gave him the team he wanted. Even despite the presence of Test cricketers, he could not turn things around,” said a senior member of the EC, after Tamil Nadu finished third last in Group C with a seven-wicket victory against Team Rajasthan on Wednesday.
“A coach can only give inputs and train. The players have to perform. If they repeat the same mistakes, then what can the coach do? When the EC meets next time, we will discuss the matter (to sack Kanitkar). But the players must come out of their comfort zone,” insisted another senior member.
Skipper Vijay Shankar shouldered a part of the responsibility for his team’s batting failure. “We did not bat to our potential, and that is why we lost four games. As captain and as a player I got full freedom from our coaches. They backed all the players. We should have batted long.”
Another charge being levelled at Tamil Nadu is that despite good T20 experience gleaned from the Tamil Nadu Premier League, their players failed to make an impact. “T20s and one-day cricket are totally different, because we have more time in the latter. It is the question of adapting and playing to one’s potential,” explained Vijay in this regard.
Vijay, Narayan Jagadeesan, Thangarasu Natarajan and Murugan Ashwin were the only uncapped players from the state who got bids during the IPL auction.
R Sai Kishore — who took a fifer against Rajasthan — was a TNPL standout, but was ignored at the event.
“I did not follow the auction. My mom told me that my name came twice and they did not pick me. I am not disappointed. I aware of my capabilities,” said the left-arm spinner.
So what is the way forward for Tamil Nadu? “We should take up responsibility and work hard in the areas that we have failed this season. We need to come back strongly. The only way to improve is to keep raising the bar. Hopefully, we will come back stronger next season,” said an optimistic Vijay.