TIRUNELVELI: In one of the pre-season interviews, R Ashwin had said Dindigul Dragons had a clear picture of who they wanted in the Tamil Nadu Premier League’s players draft. There is a similarity in the way they picked the squad and the way Kings XI Punjab did, in IPL 11. Dindigul have four openers, just like Kings XI, who had the same number of openers.
In the first edition, openers V Ganga Sridhar Raju and N Jagadeesan were the key players, who helped them reach the semifinals. They contributed 579 runs together in eight matches, including a record partnership of 127 against VB Kanchi Veerans. Though Dindigul had a patchy 2017 (lost four, won two, no result 1), Raju was their best batsman with 158 runs in six innings.
For a team that had got runs from the top two, it was not good to lose Raju, who was picked up by Karaikudi Kaalais. So they added Hari Nishaanth, NS Chaturved and B Anirudh Sitaram to their arsenal. With Jagadeesan being a seasoned opener, Nishaanth got the second slot in the first match against Ruby Trichy Warriors. The left-handed Anirudh came in at four and Chaturved was asked to bat at 7.
Both showed it was not their cup of tea and failed to cross two digits. The team suffered after a brisk start, which eventually cost them the match. Though it is too early to say that the excess of openers can be a stumbling block, teams like Gujarat Lions and Kings XI struggled to extract the best from openers batting down the order.But M Venkatramana, former Tamil Nadu spinner and Dindigul coach, believes it’s about utilising chances irrespective of where you bat.
“This is a game with no certainty. Anyone can do wonders. We know we have a couple of top-order batsmen. But we have to create opportunities for all. In that way, wherever they get to bat, they should adapt. It’s better if you adapt sooner because the demands of the T20 game are like that.”
Having said that, he also revealed that there are possibilities of shuffling at the top as the tournament progress. “It was difficult to pick two to open the innings. But for the first match, we decided to go with Jagadeesan and Nishaanth. We will have to see who fits the bill and accordingly, we will decide.”