Baba Aparajith likely to open the batting for Tamil Nadu in Ranji Trophy

After winning the Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament, Tamil Nadu reached the final of Vijay Hazare Trophy. Many youngsters, who did well in those tournaments, have been named in the Ranji squad.

Published: 01st January 2022 11:51 PM  |   Last Updated: 01st January 2022 11:51 PM   |  A+A-

Baba Aparajith

Batsman Baba Aparajith (File | EPS)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu Ranji Trophy team led by Vijay Shankar plans to have a short camp for about a week before leaving for Ahmedabad for the tournament. The damp weather in the city could spoil the team's practice schedules.

Tamil Nadu will be without the services of M Vijay, Abhinav Mukund and Dinesh Karthik who are not available for selection. Varun Chakravarthy is yet to recover from injury. They will also miss the vice-captain Washington Sundar, who will be joining the India ODI squad in South Africa. A replacement for Washington will be named on Sunday or Monday. Sources in the TNCA indicated that J Kousik or Hari Nishanth could be drafted in for Washington.

"We proposed to have a short camp from Sunday to Jan 8 when the team will leave for Ahmedabad. Since there are no league matches, we wish to have a couple of two-day practice games. With the weather suddenly changing, we have to wait and see how much we can practice out-doors and have fruitful practice sessions. We will try to have at least one practice match,'' said M Venkataramana, head coach of Tamil Nadu.

After winning the Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament, Tamil Nadu reached the final of Vijay Hazare Trophy. Many youngsters, who did well in those tournaments, have been named in the Ranji squad. Tamil Nadu have won the Ranji Trophy only twice in the history of the tournament, so there is pressure on this young squad to have a crack at the title.

"The main focus at the camp and the top priority will be to shift the focus from white-ball to red-ball cricket. We need to work on the mindset of the players and drive in the fact that they need to play with lot more patience. Many of the senior players are not available and Washy is on national duty. I see this as an excellent opportunity for the youngsters to make best use of the chances they get and consolidate their position,'' opined the former NCA coach.

Vijay and Mukund were a solid opening pair for Tamil Nadu across formats. With the duo not available, they experimented with various combinations before N Jagadeesan and B Aparajith coming good in the white-ball tournaments, this season. They also shuffled the batting order in Mushtaq Ali and Vijay Hazare tournaments, but in Ranji, they might want to have a settled batting order.

"Openers have a big role to play in our Ranji campaign," said Venkataramana. "It is hard to get replacements for Vijay and Abhinav. Aparajith,  L Suryapprakash, M Kaushik Gandhi, V Ganga Sridhar Raju are the four players who can open the innings and two of them could make the XI. Aparajith, who gave a good account of himself in white-ball this season and a player who possesses a good technique should open the innings. Aparajith has the experience and he would be able to do a good job."

"As far the middle order goes we would look to have a settled batting order. If Sai Sudarshan is picked, he could bat at No 3. I would prefer Vijay Shankar at No 5 or 6 depending upon the situation. Once we see the wicket and conditions, we will get a clear picture as to whom to send at which position,'' he added.
The former India off spinner believes that to win the Ranji the team needs to play for outright wins rather than settling for first innings lead for points. He is keen to strengthen the bowling so as to pick 20 wickets. "Definitely we will play for getting 20 wickets. I do not want the team to have a mindset where they go for  draws or just bank on first innings lead to get points. When we play for a win it adds lot of positivity in the team and that is what I want. To get 20 wickets we need to play five bowlers and we are game for it. The combination (3 spinners or 3 pacers) will depend upon the wicket,'' insisted the former Dindigul Dragons coach adding that bowling and fielding are areas that the team has scope to improve.


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