Monday, November 3, 2008

TN starts in style


Posted by Balajhi Narayanasami
Tamil Nadu opened its campaign at Nashik against Maharashtra. Their openers remain unbeaten at the end first day's play and have together added 377. M.Vijay, on whom I am keeping an eye, has scored his second double century in first class and the other opener Abinav Mukund, a new comer to the TN Ranji side, is on a century now. I hope they build the partnership further and score biggg individually.

TN has been struggling off late to make it past the league round. In fact two years back it had to fight hard to avoid relegation to the plate group. Badrinath was the lone man doing the batting for TN during this period after Badani, Sriram and few others left for ICL riches. Since the arrival of Vijay TN's batting look bit solid. Vijay had a good start to his career in 2006-07 and had an average one in 2007-08. He has had a good start to this season and is in good form. He had a good India A outing against NZ A and came second in the challenger trophy batting charts.

TN's prospects for this seasons rests largely on the shoulders of Vijay with Badrinath carrying the drinks for India seniors. TN's bowling department is emboldened by the return of L.Balaji. It has a very good offie, who missed out most of last season due to injury, in Ashwin.

Other point of interest in TN for Indian cricket fans is DK, the man who rose to the top from the bottom and fell down from there with a big thud, all in one season. Wishing him and his team good luck.

Day 2 - Update

TN declares at 648 for 3. Abinav Mukund makes it biggg (300*) and remains unbeaten while Vijay scored 243. Vidyut Sivaramakrishnan scored 59. DK failed again scoring just 5. A strange coincidence that both DK and his captain on England tour are struggling to find their touch. Balaji picks up the opener Khadiwale as Maharshtra ended the day at 154 for 1 in 44 overs. The pitch seems to be a good one to bat. Though still lot of cricket left in this game, I think this could end in a tame draw unless the pitch cracks and Ashwin has his way.

Day 3 - Update

This match is heading for a tame draw. Maharashtra are 401 for 7 at the end of day 3. TN likely to pick up extra first innings points. AJ Shrikhande, who is just playing his second first class match, saved the day for Maharastra with his big ton (195). Ashwin, the tall offie, has impressive figures of 3 for 68 from 40 overs. TN has to shore up its bowling, otherwise they will have another year of average performance.

Day 4 - Update

Despite TN's efforts on the fourth day KM Jadhav and NS Paradkar saved the day for Maharashtra. After dismissing MH for 457 in the first innings, TN enforced the follow on. TN spinners picked up 3 quick wickets for 55 but J & P scored 90+ each to ensure a draw and point for Maharashtra. Maharashtra scored 250 for six at the close of play. It must be relief for Maharashtra and an opportunity gone for TN. C Suresh, left arm spinner, of TN picked 7 or 205 in the match with a fiver in the first innings.

TN has improve it's performance in coming matches. Badri's presence should help them but Vijay's absence will be felt. Balaji and Yomagesh must deliver for TN enter the knock out phase.

scorecard

14 comments:

Straight Point said...

NB

DK's decline is as much of his own fault as team management...and i think more of team management fault...

he scored very good runs under testing conditions in SA and and was top scorer (if my memory s serving me right) of eng series...

only one failure aganst pak and he was treated like dirt...in the one dayers during that period too he was not given permanent place in batting order he was one day coming at one down one day was used as late slogger...resulting him getting totally confused about his role and approach...hence he lost rythem...

if only team management used him wisely and given him some sort of confidence of backing him...he could have been the player for the future and also the one who would have kept dhoni honest...

Prabu said...

DK stikk has a chance of coming back as I cannot see Dhoni keeping up WK duties, captaincy duties and the expectation of being a top level bat as well (if he fails in his batting there would be too much pressure on him) and will prolly relinquich keeping duties in the future. It will be a hard act for Dhoni to do all three in all three forms of the game as well.

Coming to TN, their problem for the last 4 yrs has been the lack of an incisive bowling attack and the return of Balaji should bolster that dept. Their successes in the early 2000s was built on Balaji's presence. The departure of Sriram, Badani and Sharath has deplteed the batting as well but I think they've found the right replacements in vijay, Abhinav and I like the fact that Vidyut is back as well. Seems like vijay is finding his range now - I remember his scoring rate in the last two seasons were quite low but this year he has been batting marvellously and his strike rate has really zoomed up. This is the season where Abhinav can show whether he is all that he is being talked about as. TN has gone in with 5 bowlers in this game - one left arm paceman of promise (YoMa), one star right-armer on the comeback trail (LB), one rags to riches nippy paceman (Jimmy's child), one off-spinner of tremendous promise and one left-arm orthodox bowler! Talk about variety! It's going to be an interesting season and I am excited to watch KKD captain this team as he comes out as someone who is aggressive and the team selection shows the intent as well. I'm hoping for a return to the top tier of super league this year and everything else is dependent on whether they can sustain the performance under pressure. Let's wait and watch...

Anonymous said...

Abhinav Mukund - 18 yrs and 3 centuries already and one is an unbeaten 300! This kid has the potential - let's see if he can take it further...

-Prabu

N.Balajhi said...

SP that's how I felt but in these days of cut throat competition no player can look to the team management. They didn't help him in ODIs but then think of the quality of competition in ODIs. More than anything what undid DK was Shoaib's pace in the Pak series. He struggled against good pace. Even straight ones out side off took his edge with the pace. DK has to improve his batting against good pace. But as Prabu put it he can still come back as Dhoni may have to let go the gloves.

Prabu Yomaheh is a right arm pace man. As you said TN bowling has very good variety and surely Balaji's return will help their cause. Yomahesh is a good bowler but his performance in the Ranji so far is just average. He has to up his performance

Yes Anon, I am also impressed with Mukund's start. I noticed it only after making the post. Let's see how far he goes.

N.Balajhi said...

Gambhir out of the fourth test and M Vijay has been asked to report at Nagpur for the fourth test. This has come out of the blue. It's surprising and is also shocking. It means Vijay won't be on the field tomorrow.

TN may not require his services in this match again but then is this to what a Ranji Trophy match is reduced? Is it right to pluck a player away while he is on duty? What if he is unbeaten overnight and about to resume the next morning? This is ridiculous, though a windfall for Vijay.

Another question, has Vijay done enough to warrant a place in the squad? I am keeping an eye on Vijay but then I want him to prove beyond doubt that he belongs to the top level and get selected. He still has some way to travel to achieve that level.

What about poor Akash Chopra? What else should he do to get selected? Is he not an opener? Didn't he score bucketful of runs in the last season? I feel sorry for him.

DB fast tracked Rohit. I am not yet convinced of him. He has talent but to be consistent in international cricket he has to improve. Now Srikkanth is fast tracking Vijay.

Who next Cheeka? Mukund for Dravid? It smacks of regional bias.

Anonymous said...

Bala, no doubt Vijay got thru quick becos Cheeka's in charge but there are also 4 other selectors. Vijay has scored a lot of runs against NZ A and then in the Challengers as well. Given that he just scored a 243, it is not bad timing. People have been pulled from Ranji into tests like this before and given the circumstances, I am not sure it is that big a deal.

YoMahesh - not sure why I have in my mind that he is a left-armer but I've been assuming this for close to 3 yrs now! I guess that throws out my variety argument thru the door :-).

Are DK and RD twins separated at birth?

-Prabu

Soulberry said...

Thanks Bala. I'll be on the ball this weekend onwards.

I'm impressed by your pick - M Vijay. He's started out this season on the right note.

Maharashtra were supposed to pick up either a West Indian or an Englishman according to earlier rumors, but they opted for Enamul Haque jr. of Bangladesh. Fallah had a good season last. So there was a bit of bowling and no season-opener rust on the part of the TN batsmen.

The way TN began shows that they have been preparing well leading up to this match.

Abhinav Mukund - we have heard plenty of good things about this boy through the age groups. Let's watch how he shapes up over the next three-four years too.

Balaji looked OK in the Challengers as well. Vidyut has disappointed me since he came into prominence in 2004-05. However, he could play a pivotal role for TN this season with his experience and with the likelihood of Badri being largely unavailable for state duties.

I tend to agree with Prabu - DK may appear to be in a rut and Parthiv looming larger - but if Dhoni relinquishes keeping duties, I wouldn't ignore DK's performance in SA and England.

He needs confidence and the best way to do that is to score like a monster in Ranji. That forces open the way back as well. He did it before and no reason why he shouldn't again.

Amarnath and Yo Mahesh have been in circulation as well.

Do you guys feel TN is the team to watch this year? :) Looks balanced and good to me.

N.Balajhi said...

SB, TN is a good team SB if all of its players are available. Also TN falls short of performance whenever they compete against biggies (Mumbai and Delhi). I expect TN to make it past the league stage this time. Two biggies start as favorites for the season. Personally my money is on Delhi, which is good even without their 4 of their stars. Chopra and Dhawan should do well and there is promising talent in Nanda and Sangwan. They are well positioned SB.

Prabu, I agree with you that there are precedents to this selection but is it a good one? Vijay is very promising and there is no doubt about it but I feel Chopra deserves the call more than Vijay. Vijay has to score consistently for one full season to convince that he has it in him to do well. In fact this selection could backfire on Vijay if he gets a chance and fails. But there will be more probelms if Vijay succeeds.

Srikkanth is now wielding a doubled edged sword. Let's see which way it goes. Regionalist or visionary?

Prabu it is possible that both are going through 7 1/2 years saturn phase ;)

Anonymous said...

Bala, Vijay has sukra dasai and guru (Shrikkanth) paarvai!

SB, TN has had decent batting reserves for a while now but the real problem has been bowling for quite a while. Other than Balaji, there really hasn't been anyone else to take wickets and since Bala's injury TN has suffered. YoMa hasn't stepped up yet and Ashwin promised in the first season. There was also another left-arm spinner two seasons back who did quite good but for some reason he hasn't been selected - maybe he's in the ICL bandwagon. This year everything seems to be coming together and maybe they will be able to step it up this yr.

-Prabu

N.Balajhi said...

"Vijay has sukra dasai and guru (Shrikkanth) paarvai!"

Very true Prabu. More than the Dasai I think 'guru' paarvai (gaze or seeing) is the one that cilnched him the place. :)

Anonymous said...

Bala, I am not a Josya expert but as one expert would say, "Guru mattum paartha poradhu, koodave Sukra Dasaiyum sendhu vandhadhu naala dhan nalladhu nadakkum" (Impact of Guru [Jupiter] alone isn't sufficient but coupled with Sukra [Venus] can lead to good times).

-Prabu

Soulberry said...

Sukra dasa is a powerful phase. The effects of the toil you have done/doing prior to entering this phase are greatly rewarded and amplified. However, it can take you to great heights in extreme ways and worth remembering as caution :)

M Vijay has thrown his hat into the ring! Watch out Badri!

N.Balajhi said...

It is going to be a baptism by fire for Vijay. I wish he emerges successful. He must be nervous. He must be feeling like suddenly thrown in to the centre. Hope he handles the pressure.

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