Ranji Trophy: Upbeat Tamil Nadu geared up for Mumbai challenge

It’s that positive mindset that has propelled Sai Kishore and his troops.
Mumbai skipper Ajinkya Rahane during a practice session on the eve of the semifinal clash against TN
Mumbai skipper Ajinkya Rahane during a practice session on the eve of the semifinal clash against TN(Photo | PTI)

CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu skipper R Sai Kishore is full of optimism at the moment. Ahead of his team’s Ranji Trophy semifinal meeting against Mumbai, he is confident as he has been over the last few weeks.

After an indifferent start, Tamil Nadu have had an impressive run this season, dispatching teams in a professional manner and displaying the ability to pick up 20 wickets on a regular basis.

“We have prepared well for the Ranji semifinals. We are confident of a good show and we will go all out against Mumbai. Our boys are in a good frame of mind and the return of Washy (Washington Sundar) and B Sai Sudharsan augurs well for the team,’’ said Sai Kishore, ahead of TN’s clash against the 41-times champions in Mumbai. The match is set to start on Saturday.

It’s that positive mindset that has propelled Sai Kishore and his troops.

“I am not afraid of losing.  I always think positively and put my best foot forward. I know when we play well as a unit, rewards will certainly come,” he noted. Mumbai in their own backyard is always a tough proposition. And with the return of premier batter Shreyas Iyer, their team’s chances have brightened.

“I know that we have a very good team that can beat anyone on a given day when we play to our strengths. Lets not forget that we have taken 20 wickets regularly this season and our batters have been in good form,” assessed Sai Kishore.

In a knock-out match, the toss is likely to play a key role. Teams prefer to bat first in order to post a big total and try to bat out the opposition. A first-innings lead could have a massive bearing on the match.

“You see, I can control the controllables. Toss at times, you can win or lose. I believe that either way you must be prepared to take the challenge. When you have a good side and the players are raring to go, toss does not matter,’’ he opined.

One of the major problems for Tamil Nadu this season has been the lack of a settled opening pair.

After batting lower down the order initially, N Jagadeesan moved to the top but he hasn’t been able to find a regular opening partner.

“You see we tried a couple of youngsters and had mixed results. It (not having a settled opening pair) was a concern, since we did not have Sai Sudarshan. Now that Sai Sudharsan is back and Washy, too, in the squad, we can expect another 100 runs to our total. Sai Sudharsan and Jagadeesan will open, followed by Pradosh (Ranjan Paul), then B Indrajith. Then we have Washy or Vijay Shankar, so our batting order is settled. Mohamed Ali will give way for Washington,” the skipper said.

Mumbai’s batting depth is also good with the likes of Shardul Thakur, who can bat pretty well. Sai Kishore felt his side can match up with them but they need to execute their plans. “We, too, have good batting depth in our ranks. If you really want to compare, the quality of the all-rounders we have is much better than Mumbai. Having said that, it all boils down to how the boys adapt and execute the plans.”

The wickets for the semifinals are generally built to last five days to have a good contest between the bat and ball. Sai Kishore is expecting his spinners to play a major role as the match progresses. “The wicket looks good. It will hold on well initially and looks like it will aid spin as the match progresses. So our spinners will come to the fore. We have some quality spinners in Washy and Ajith Ram and Pradosh to chip in. I am always there when the team wants. So, it will be a fight to the finish and I am confident we will emerge successful.”

The next five days promises to be an exciting battle between the two sides.

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