Venkataramana- The New Indian Express

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The sixth edition of the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) began at Tirunelveli on Thursday and one can get a glimpse of some of the budding talent in the state.

Abhinav Mukund has not shown any interest in playing and is happy with his commentary job and looks like to have settled in Mumbai. And with Murali Vijay and Dinesh Karthik in the wrong side of their 30’s Tamil Nadu is in a state of transition. Ravichandran Ashwin too is 35 years old and it is time for Tamil Nadu to start planning for the future.

Moreover, Vijay Shankar, Washington Sundar and T Natarajan have been injury prone in the recent past and Tamil Nadu has suffered due to lack of adequate replacements.

Former India off-spinner and Tamil Nadu coach M Venkataramana believes that this year TNPL will be crucial as the selectors and he himself will be looking for talents to fill in particular slots.

“Although the TNPL is in the T20 format it will give us a glimpse of the emerging talent. We as a coach or selector will look for and see how a youngster handles pressure and gauge whether he has the talent to graduate to the next level. We are in a transition stage and it will be difficult to find replacements for the likes of Vijay and Karthik who are in the final phase of their career. slots,” said Venkataramana.

N Jagadeesan has been there for a while and he played in XI as a wicketkeeper with Karthik playing as a batsman.

Sometimes Jagadeesan too has played as a batter with Karthik keeping wickets. Now with Baba Indrajith showing his wicket keeping skills with Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL, there is a new option for Tamil Nadu.

“None can match Karthik’s class. As long as he plays it will be great for TN. He has single-handedly won matches for the state. He has the ability and experience to bat for a long time and put up a big score to serve the team’s cause. DK has stopped playing red ball cricket. Jagadeesan has been DK’s understudy for a while. Now Indrajith has shown his wicketkeeping skills. But should someone be injured or fall sick we need options. So we will all watch with close attention the wicketkeeper in action. Those with a flair for the basics and ability to bat will certainly draw attention,” insisted the former NCA coach.

Bowling all-rounder, in particular a fast-bowling all-rounder, is something that even the Indian team is looking forward to identifying. Vijay Shankar is a batting all-rounder who can bowl medium-paced. But of late because of injuries, he hasn’t bowled much. Tamil Nadu has a spin bowling all-rounder in B Aparajith. But the Tamil Nadu selectors and Venkataramana are keen to search for a fast-bowling all-rounder.

“In white-ball cricket we need a fast-bowling all-rounder. A fast bowler who can bat not only gives us depth but also allows the luxury to play an extra spinner on a given day. Like how we spotted a top-order batsman in Sai Sudarshan from last year’s TNPL, we expect a fast-bowling all-rounder to emerge this season,” hoped Venkataramana.

Death bowling is one area that the TN coach and selectors are looking to find more options. T Natarajan has been in and out of the team due to injury. G Periyaswamy, the Salem slinger has been inconsistent. Periyaswamy has taken just nine wickets from nine T20 games that he has played for the state.

“There is no better bowler in the state to bowl at the death than Natarajan. No one can bowl a potent yorker better than him. But off late he has become injury prone. And on many occasions when he has been on national duty we could not find a ready replacement. So any fast bowler who looks good at the death will automatically come in the radar,” opined the former India spinner.

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