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05 Jun 2023, Edition - 2883, Monday

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TN set to groom wrist spinners after Ranji debacle



Bagawati Prasad

The inability of the Tamil Nadu finger spinners (left-armers and off-spinners) to get regular breakthroughs on docile and good pitches in the Ranji Trophy this season has made the selection committee to think of “grooming” wrist-spinners as part of their “long-term” plan.

Tamil Nadu, at the moment, have three leg-spinners going around the circuit. M Ashwin, who was part of the Rising Pune Supergiants and Delhi Daredevils team in the IPL over the last two seasons, U-23 leggie M Abhinav and a 17-year-old leggie in S Kishan Kumar, who is part of the TN U-19 team, are the three names that are set to be discussed.

Chairman of selectors S Sharath said the committee will think about how to use these leg-spinners going forward. “The performance of the spinners have been below-par. They haven’t been able to get wickets consistently. We feel it’s time to groom some leg-spinners as part of our long-term plan who can provide wickets. Wrist spinners can be handy when there is little help in the wicket. However, it’s not that we are going to rope them in just for the sake of it. We will monitor them closely and consider them at appropriate times. Ashwin is experienced and Abhinav has certainly been doing well. Their names will certainly be discussed,” Sharath told TOI.

Ashwin, who was part of the title-winning Vijay Hazare and Deodhar Trophy teams earlier this year, has played three first-class matches and he last played Ranji for TN in 2012. Both Abhinav and Kishan, who were part of various Buchi Babu teams earlier, have been amongst the wickets in the ongoing U-23 and U-19 national tournaments respectively.

Although TN coach Hrishikesh Kanitkar said he “would love” to have a wrist-spinner in the side, but stressed that being a leg-spinner alone “shouldn’t” just be the criteria. “I’m sure there is a longterm plan to have a leg-spinner. A leggie can be helpful. But you need a spinner who is good and is able to spin the ball. Any team will welcome a wrist-spinner and we will also love to have one. But he should come into the side on merit. Just because somebody bowls with a wrist, doesn’t mean, he should make it,” he said.

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