The State selectors are looking at bowling options ahead of the Ranji Trophy season beginning late October. There are some interesting choices in the list of 29 probables; the two-week conditioning camp has begun at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium.
The selectors met on Wednesday night to pick the captain, but decided to wait another day or two before making up their mind. S. Badrinath and L. Balaji are the frontrunners for the job.
Tamil Nadu failed to qualify for the quarterfinals last season and bowling was an area of concern. In the pace attack, there was too much load on spearhead Balaji.
In this context, the selection of young Aswin Crist is notable. The paceman from UFCC (T. Nagar) made an impression in the seven first division league games this season.
Sunil Sam — he has been lively and has hit the right areas — and seamer J. Kaushik are also in the mix. M. Mohammed, who has the ability to reverse the ball, is someone with potential.
The leader of the State spin pack R. Ashwin is likely to be available for the first two matches. The side will have to rely on a young bunch of spinners thereafter.
Alwarpet’s Vijay Anand is among the probables. He is a left-arm spinner with possibilities. Aushik Srinivas, who impressed in the Buchi Babu final, and the steady Rahil Shah are the other spinners of this ilk.
Malolan Rangarajan, the most successful bowler in the TNCA first division league this season, could be the first choice among the young off-spinners. M. Prabhu is another option before the wise men. Surprisingly, A.C. Pratiban, an outstanding performer last season, has been overlooked.
Off-spinning all-rounder, S. Suresh Kumar, is in the frame though. And M. Ashwin offers variety as a leg-spinner.
In the batting department, the in-form B. Indrajith makes the cut. Top-order batsmen K.B. Arun Karthick, S. Aniruda, K. Bharat Shankar, Kaushik Gandhi and B. Aprajith (he can be flexible with his batting slot) are in the scheme of things.
Apart from Dinesh Karthik, the selectors have picked three wicket-keeper batsmen — U. Sushil, Karthik Adithya and R. Rohith. With Karthik unlikely to play all matches, the search is on for a dependable cricketer of this breed.
Meanwhile, former India paceman B. Arun has been appointed director of the TNCA Academy. Arun had a successful stint as chief bowling coach at the NCA.
The probables: S. Badrinath, L. Balaji, R. Ashwin, M. Vijay, A. Mukund, B. Aprajith, B. Indrajith, R. Prasanna, Vijay Shankar, Dinesh Karthik, S. Suresh Kumar, K.B. Arun Karthick, K. Bharat Shankar, S. Aniruda, Kaushik Gandhi, U. Sushil, Karthik Adithya, R. Rohith, R. Aushik Srinivas, Rahil Shah, Vijay Anand, M. Ashwin, Malolan Rangarajan, M. Prabhu, Sunil Sam, J. Kaushik, M. Mohammed, Aswin Crist, V. Yomahesh.
Coach: W.V. Raman; Assistant coach: M. Sanjay.