CHENNAI: It was a case of so near yet so far for Tamil Nadu in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy final, where they lost to Karnataka by one run in Surat on Sunday. Had Vijay Shankar not got run out at a crucial time or B Aparajith continued till the end, things could have been different.
But Tamil Nadu coach D Vasu sees positives in the way Tamil Nadu played. He believes these will inspire them to do well in the Ranji Trophy. “It is a team game and I do not wish to blame anybody for the final loss. I am proud of the way the team played as a unit and reached the final. It was a long tournament and the conditions were different from what we have in Chennai. The boys adapted brilliantly and put up a good show,’’ said Vasu.
Tamil Nadu had reached the final of the Vijay Hazare Trophy too, before losing to the same opponents. “Before I took over as coach, had someone asked me if we would reach the finals of two tournaments in white ball cricket, I would not have been able to give a confident answer. But as the season started, I got to know the players and slowly specified their roles. They were responsive and this led to excellent teamwork. It was evident in the way some of youngsters performed. If our ask me to pick two, they would be R Sai Kishore and Shahrukh Khan. I believe Sai is the find of the tournament,’’ opined the 51-year old.
Opening remained an area of concern for Tamil Nadu in the T20 tournament. Murali Vijay got injured, the team tried out many combinations and nothing worked. “We tried many, but none could fill in Vijay’s shoes. Ravichandran Ashwin was good in a game where he opened. This is one of the issues we need to address,” said Vasu.
Generally, the Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament has been a hunting ground for talent scouts of the various IPL teams. How many of the Tamil Nadu youngsters are expected to be on their wish list? “Several were impressive. G Periyaswamy, M Siddharth, Sai Kishore, Shahrukh all have the potential to play in IPL. Some of them have attended trials for the Mumbai and Hyderabad franchises,’’ said Vasu.
The coach wants to focus on the next assignment and remain positive. “White ball cricket is over. We need to focus on Ranji. The core team will be the same. We look forward to carrying the momentum into Ranji Trophy,” signed off Vasu.