Cricket

Ranji Trophy: TN Coach Criticises Skipper R Sai Kishore For Loss Vs Mumbai

Tamil Nadu coach Sulakshan Kulkarni said that his side lost the Ranji Trophy semi-final when Sai Kishore opted to bat first in the seaming track against Mumbai

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TN Skipper R Sai Kishore in Ranji Trophy action. Photo: X/Oam_16
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Tamil Nadu cricket team coach Sulakshan Kulkarni was not a happy man post his side's defeat by an innings and 70 runs to Mumbai in their semi-final clash in the Ranji Trophy. TN captain R Sai Kishore had won the toss and opted to bat on a pitch that was suited for pacers. (More Cricket News)

Speaking to the media post the conclusion of the game, Kulkarni said that Tamil Nadu lost the match on day 1 of the game at 9:00 AM. After coming into bat, the R Sai Kishore-led Tamil Nadu could only muster 146 runs on the board.

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Shardul Thakur’s all-round brilliance was the central point of Mumbai’s massive innings and 70-run win over clumsy Tamil Nadu inside three days as they marched to their 48th Ranji Trophy final.

After his stunning 109 on the second day that handed 41-time champions Mumbai a big 232-run lead, Thakur ripped the TN top-order with two wickets that saw the visitors getting felled for 162 in their second innings in the semifinal.

"The moment I saw the wicket I exactly knew what we were going to get," Kulkarni told the media here after the match.

"When I saw that they had played on a different pitch in the quarterfinal and what wicket they gave, (that) moment I realised that this is a seaming-friendly wicket and it was going to be a very tough match, we would have to play really well to win this game.

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"I always speak straightforward — we lost the match at 9’o clock on Day One. Everything was set, we won the toss, as a coach, as a Mumbaikar, I know the conditions well. We should have bowled but the captain had some different instinct.

"Ultimately he is the boss. I can give my feedback and inputs (as to) what kind of wickets and Mumbai’s mindset also. (From) 106/7, I knew before the match that this (Mumbai’s fightback) may happen.”

Coach Kulkarni however said his side's plans were set despite the toss of the coin going either team's favour.

"We were mentally prepared that whoever wins the toss would bowl first. We knew that we would bowl first. The moment they (TV broadcast) said we would bat first, whatever you say, it goes in the batsmen’s minds. That first half an hour (before play) got in the batsmen’s minds,” he said.

"When you get into the first over, third ball, your international player gets out and you see the situationâ€æ in the first hour we lost the game and the plot. It was very difficult to come back even though they were 107 for seven (106/7)."

He also called Sai Kishore's 'instinctive' decision worked both ways.

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"Again, the instinctive decision, that inner voice, has played a big role. If you can say (it in) the positive way, the inner voice has helped also in reaching the semifinal,” he said.

"In the previous match against Saurashtra, he went at No 3 and scored 65. That was again the inner voice, which has played (out) the positive way. Every captain has a different mindset, then I would say ‘why not, I won’t blame the captain’.

"Other captains in the last 7-8 years must have tried but they did not reach the semifinal. I looked at it from a positive way,” he added.

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Kulkarni's comments did not go down well with TN cricketer Dinesh Karthik who termed them disappointing. DK wrote, ""This is soo WRONG," Karthik wrote on X. "This is so disappointing from the coach ..instead of backing the captain who has brought the team to the semis after 7 yrs and thinking it's a start for good things to happen, the coach has absolutely thrown his captain and team under the bus."

Brief scores:

Tamil Nadu 146 and 162 in 51.5 overs (Baba Indrajith 70; Shardul Thakur 2/16, Shams Mulani 4/53, Tanush Kotian 2/18) lost to Mumbai: 378 all out in 106.5 overs (Musheer Khan 55, Shardul Thakur 109, Tanush Kotian 89 not out; R Sai Kishore 6/99) by an innings and 70 runs.

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