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Raring to go

The Tamil Nadu team is geared for yet another Ranji Trophy season, says coach B. Arun


THE EMPHASIS will be on team spirit as Tamil Nadu begins its pursuit for the prize that eluded it last season - the Ranji Trophy.

"The idea is to fight as one for the team. Pull through collectively, help each other out and draw from each other's strengths and weaknesses," said State coach B. Arun ahead of a new Ranji season, that will witness Tamil Nadu beginning its campaign in the Elite group `B' league against Karnataka in Bangalore on November 7.

The season gone by was a fruitful one for Tamil Nadu with the side winning the South Zone and All India limited overs tournaments and progressing to the Ranji Trophy final.

However, the stumble at the last Ranji hurdle in Mumbai left the cricketing fraternity in the State disappointed. Arun is confident that his team would be able to take that last but all-important step this year.

There are lessons to be learnt from defeats and it was clear for Tamil Nadu from the Ranji title clash that three aspects needed to be looked at carefully - spin bowling, catching and the contribution of the lower order.

Arun expresses the hope that left-arm spinners Vidyut Sivaramakrishnan and R. Ramkumar, who have performed well in the competitive SPIC-TNCA first division league, will be able to turn the corner during this domestic season, while offie S.R. Ganesh Kumar will bring with him the experience of having represented the East Zone.

"The ability is there. The boys will have to believe in themselves. Ganesh Kumar, Vidyut, Ramkumar, and paceman M.R. Shrinivas, they can all bat, and I am sure our lower order will perform well."

During the pre-season conditioning camp for the State players, specific emphasis was placed on fielding and catching. "I must acknowledge the work put in by trainer Basu and physio Hamsraj. The boys are fit and raring to go and I am sure they will excel on the field."

The coach realises that the side might be without some key players such as Hemang Badani, Sadagopan Ramesh and L. Balaji who could be away on national duty, but adds there is enough depth in the team. "We have a good blend of experience and youth. What we need to do is to bring consistency into our performances. This is where Balaji sets an example. Whatever be the conditions, he strives to give his best." Arun has a word of praise for the promising wicket-keeper batsman Dinesh Kaarthick as well.

It will be as much a question of commitment as talent as the S. Suresh-led Tamil Nadu begins yet another quest, in a fresh season and with new hopes.

S. DINAKAR

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