CHENNAI: Life of cricketers in the teams owned by institutions in the TNCA league is not a bed of roses, but full of thorns. They are forever under pressure to ‘save’ their team from relegation. With zero recruitment in the last couple of years, players are under great stress. State Bank of India has been reeling in the lower division of the TNCA league for several years.
Indian Bank and Indian Overseas Bank have been in and out of First Division. Railways teams, too, have found it difficult to sustain itself in the First Division. In recent times, only AG’s Office has managed to stay in the Senior Division, thanks to the astute leadership of NS Chaturved. Chaturved, who opens for VB Thiruvallur Veerans, believes that the TNPL has eased pressure on the institutional players and they are all enjoying their game. Thiruvallur take on Lyca Kovai Kings in a do or die game for both teams in the TNPL at Chepauk here on Saturday.
“We at AG’s Office have managed to stay in First division. With no recruitment, we have to manage with our own staff. We cannot afford guest players like other teams, but we managed to get Unmukt Chand as guest player last season. He played for us not for money but to get match practice. So all of us are under pressure and we cannot play our natural game as we have to restrain ourselves for the ‘safety’ of the team,’’ said Chaturved.
“But the TNPL has enabled us to express ourselves better. I play more shots here than the league. And I am also enjoying my game better,’’ added Chaturved. L Suryaprakash, a key member of the Kovai side, believes that not just institutional cricketers even the other players from the top teams in the league enjoy the TNPL more, as it is fun oriented and the travel helps players bond and understand each other across various teams better. “We enjoy the TNPL more as it helps us play a lot more freely and interact with players from various teams in the league.
TNPL has helped us handle pressure better and improved our shot selection. Where in normal circumstances you would play a dot ball, now you know how to take a run off it. Now, players have learnt to play two, three shots to a given ball,’’ said Suryaprakash, adding that he is eager to play with Murali Vijay. Chaturved insists that scoring rate in the TNCA league has gone up due to TNPL. “The TNPL has taught players to improve strike rate and making 350-370 runs in a day is the norm today in the First Division league of the TNCA. In close games in the league, the TNPL has helped teams change the mindset and go for a win rather play out a draw,’’ explained Chaturved, promising a good contest on Saturday.