Cricket

Getting the playing XI right

Tamil Nadu — more often than not — has got this aspect wrong this season

Selection of the eleven and the team balance — these depend on conditions — often decide matches.

And Tamil Nadu, with just five points from an equal number of games, has got this crucial aspect wrong this Ranji season.

The side has brought in seamer M. Mohammad for paceman K. Vignesh for its next duel, here, against the Railways beginning Sunday.

But then, in the dry, hot conditions, and on a pitch expected to assist spinners, Tamil Nadu is likely to field a lone paceman, the often impressive left-armer T. Natarajan.

Not making sense

Since the State seamers do not possess the speed to achieve reverse swing, playing two of them does not make sense.

In fact, Tamil Nadu blundered by including a second paceman in Vignesh — he finished with none for 49 — against Mumbai here when the side was screaming for an additional spinner in left armer M. Siddharth.

R. Ashwin and Sai Kishore had reduced an inexperienced Mumbai to 129 for five on day one at Chepauk before Shams Mulani (87) and Aditya Tare (154) and some spirited batting by the tail lifted the visitor to a daunting 488.

Tamil Nadu desperately needed another specialist spinner after Mumbai had lost its fifth wicket considering Ashwin and Sai needed a break.

Inconsistency

The other problem for Tamil Nadu is Sai Kishore’s inconsistency with length. So you cannot rotate bowlers around him with the left-armer keeping his end tight.

And in the season opener against Karnataka, Tamil Nadu actually went in with four spinners in R. Ashwin, M. Ashwin, M. Siddharth and Sai Kishore, apart from the handy off-spin of B. Aparajith.

This was surely an overkill in a low-scoring game on a conducive pitch where an extra batsman could have made the difference.

The message to Tamil Nadu is simple and straight — Get your XI right.

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2020 10:49:49 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/getting-the-playing-xi-right/article30588309.ece

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