MJ Gopalan trophy revived after six years September 21, 2007

Ashwin leads Tamil Nadu in revived Gopalan Trophy

Cricinfo staff

R Ashwin has assumed Tamil Nadu's captaincy after only four first-class matches © Cricinfo Ltd.
R Ashwin will lead Tamil Nadu in the MJ Gopalan trophy to be played in Colombo between September 26-29. The Tamil Nadu District Cricket Association (TNCA) has announced a 14-man squad for the match for this once-prestigious tournament which is being revived after a gap of six years. It was last conducted in 2001 in Chennai.

When last played Tamil Nadu defeated a Colombo District Cricket Association side at the MA Chidambaram stadium in Chennai to win the trophy - which Gopalan himself attended, after which the tournament went into hibernation. In the interim, Gopalan had died aged 94 on December 21, 2003.

The Gopalan trophy, named after MJ Gopalan, the double-international who represented India in both cricket and hockey, was once a fixture in the domestic calendar and has now been revived. The inaugural match was played in 1953 and became a regular fixture in Sri Lanka's domestic calendar. But with Sri Lanka receiving Test status in 1983, the trophy was discontinued, only to be revived 17 years later in 2000.

Tamil Nadu, in the absence of S Badrinath, who is with India A, and Dinesh Karthik, who is doing national duty, is led by Ashwin, an offspinner, who has played in four first-class matches claiming 31 wickets at an average of 16.93. He was also the recipient of the 'CEAT India Bowler of the year' award for 2006-07.

The tournament was revived after a discussion between Bandula Warnapura, the chief executive of the Sri Lankan board, and N Srinivasan, the president of TNCA, on the sidelines of the Afro-Asia Cup held in June, according to a report in the Sunday Times, a Colombo-based newspaper.

The Tamil Nadu team arrive in Colombo late on September 21 and play a two-day practice match starting on September 23. The four-day match for the MJ Gopalan trophy - in which Tamil Nadu will take on a Sri Lankan side comprising players from the A team and under-19 level, starts on September 26.

Meanwhile, Napolean Einstein, the right-hand opening batsman has been included in the squad in place of S Anirudha, who will join the India A team for a three-match one-day series against South Africa A.

Tamil Nadu squad
R Ashwin (Capt), K Vasudevadas (vice-captain), Napolean Einstein, M Vijay, Abhinav Mukund, R Srinivasan, E Suresh, H Gopinath (wk), S Suresh Kumar, C Ganapathy, R Avinash, R Naresh, P Amarnath, C Suresh
Coach: WV Raman
Manager: PC Prakash
Physio: PK Naveen Babu
Physical Trainer:Ramji Srinivasan