CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu are in crisis. After two consecutive defeats in the Ranji Trophy, at home, it is hard to look for positives in the side.
On Wednesday, a new-look Tamil Nadu will take on Madhya Pradesh in an Elite Group B encounter in Indore with the primary aim of opening the account.
To make things worse, off-spinner R Ashwin, who picked up 17 wickets in two matches, and senior opener Abhinav Mukund will be missing the match.
Apart from them, M Shahrukh Khan was the latest to join the list of injured players after he fractured his finger during the second match against Himachal Pradesh.
In this backdrop, finding the right combination will be a major concern for the team.
Even with a full-strength squad, it appeared Tamil Nadu didn’t know what their best XI was.
After fielding four spinners and a seamer in the opening match against Karnataka, they played two spinners and two pacers for Himachal despite both being played on the same pitch.
With a completely different set-up now, the task only becomes harder for coach D Vasu.
“This is a new team. I don’t want to hold the baggage of the past,” said Vasu.
“What has happened in the last two games cannot be changed. This is a new game and their outlook is very positive. It is basically handling four days of pressure. That is what our problem has been. We had a good run in 20 overs (Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy) and 50 overs (Vijay Hazare). There, handling four overs or 10 overs of pressure was different. That mental strength is one area that the players need to work on. It will make a huge
The pitch in Holkar Stadium has mostly been seamer-friendly and Vasu hinted at playing three pacers in the attack.
In this case, right-arm pacer Abhishek Tanwar or M Mohammed look likely to join K Vignesh and T Natarajan.
“If there is a green top, we will be going in with three pacers, and an all-rounder. But the wickets in Indore and Kanpur have invariably assisted pacers in the past. So it will be more of a seam-based attack,” said Vasu.
Even with Ashwin out of the scenario, the bowling department has the potential to pull things off.
However, new batting line-up that is thin on experience, will be put to test by Madhya Pradesh. Apart from the stand-in skipper Aparajith, opener K Mukunth showed signs of temperament in his 146-ball 48 in the second game.
With Kaushik Gandhi, C Hari Nishaanth and L Suryapprakash joining the squad, the side is now stacked with top-order batsmen. But Vasu felt it’s a happy headache.
“As batsmen, they have to settle in and get big scores. Conditions are not going to be easy. But it’s a good opportunity for them to prove themselves. If they get runs here, outside of Tamil Nadu, it will be appreciated more than when they score at home,” he added.
Madhya Pradesh are also coming off a narrow one-wicket defeat against Baroda.
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