Tamil Nadu bank on 'fingertip knowledge' of coach Kulkarni to knock out Mumbai in Ranji semis

01 March,2024 08:35 PM IST |  Mumbai  |  mid-day online correspondent

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

Sai Kishore dives to stop the ball in the men’s final cricket match between Afghanistan and India in 2022 (Pic: AFP)

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 2023-24 semifinal starting on Saturday.

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

"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.

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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 Ranji Trophy 2023-24 semifinal 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.

(With agency inputs)

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