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regular-article-logo Saturday, 20 April 2024

Tamil Nadu bank on 'fingertip knowledge' of coach Sulakshan Kulkarni to knockout Mumbai in Ranji semis

Tamil Nadu’s last Ranji final appearance was in the 2014-15 season when they lost to Karnataka

PTI Mumbai Published 01.03.24, 06:00 PM
Chennai: Tamil Nadu's Baba Indrajith and Vijay Shankar run between the wickets on the fourth day of the Ranji Trophy cricket match between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, at M.A. Chidambaram Stadium, in Chennai, Monday, Feb. 12, 2024

Chennai: Tamil Nadu's Baba Indrajith and Vijay Shankar run between the wickets on the fourth day of the Ranji Trophy cricket match between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, at M.A. Chidambaram Stadium, in Chennai, Monday, Feb. 12, 2024 PTI

Tamil Nadu skipper R Sai Kishore said on Friday that they will lean on the experience and nous of coach Sulakshan Kulkarni, who has ‘Mumbai cricket on his fingertips’, to deliver the knockout punch on the 41-time champions in their Ranji Trophy semifinal starting here on Saturday.

Tamil Nadu’s last Ranji final appearance was in the 2014-15 season when they lost to Karnataka.

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“Sulu sir always has his strategies (in place). He is always observant on the ground and that is one of his best qualities. There’s never a session where he dozes off. He has been of great help while captaining,” said Sai Kishore.

Kulkarni also hoped to put into use his vast knowledge of Mumbai cricket in favour of Tamil Nadu.

“I’ve told my team that Mumbai cricket is on my fingertips. I know each and every (player’s) positives and negatives. Yes, we respect our opponents because they’ve a big legacy. But we’ll have a good game,” Kulkarni said.

Kulkarni, a former Mumbai batter of repute, said it’s time Tamil Nadu translated its talent into trophies more consistently at the domestic level.

“We have (produced) so many Test cricketers including R Ashwin and Murali Vijay and so many (other) cricketers. We have played four (Ranji) finals in the last 15-20 years. It is not a bad performance. But a (Ranji) trophy (win) has eluded us,” Kulkarni said.

“This year we are playing quality cricket. The team bonding is great and, hopefully, we will break that jinx this year,” he added.

Sai Kishore agreed with his coach.

“We have won championships for Tamil Nadu in white-ball formats. So, we are very excited and want to win a red ball trophy as well. We are all motivated to do that, and that is the talk in the dressing room,” he said.

Tamil Nadu got a boost ahead of the last-four match as all-rounder Washington Sundar and top-order batter Bhardwaj Sai Sudharsan have joined the team.

Sudharsan, who has played just one match this season, has cleared a fitness test at NCA while Sundar, who has also appeared in one match, has been released from the India team so that he could link up with the state side.

Sai Kishore was delighted to welcome back the duo into the TN fold.

“Those two have worked hard in domestic (cricket) and have gone there (to play for India), they realise how important it is to show up here,” he said.

“We have played together for so many years. We are happy that they are here in the team. Usually, when the star India players come back in the team it can be a headache also. But with Washy and Sai, we have actually got a boost,” he explained.

Sai Kishore himself was at the forefront of TN’s charge, taking 47 wickets with his left-arm spin and he also tops the wicket-taker’s table this season.

But he wanted to live in the present rather than dreaming big about an India call-up.

“I take great pride in my team winning tournaments more than my own performance – wickets or runs. I am just trying to live in the moment and enjoying it,” Sai Kishore said.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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