Coach Raman slams Tamil Nadu for 'elementary mistakes'
Very little separated Tamil Nadu and Saurashtra over four days on a placid pitch in Chennai, but WV Raman, the coach of Tamil Nadu, believed that his team had no excuses for failing to restrict Saurashra to under 565, as the visitors comfortably overhauled that score and took three points by virtue of a first-innings lead.
Raman was blunt in his assessment of his side's performance in the field over the last two days, in which two dropped catches cost them. Jaydev Shah, who was dropped at second slip when on 8, went on to score 195 and added 353 for the fourth wicket with Cheteshwar Pujara. On the final day, Aarpit Vasavada was also let off on second slip when on 6 and used the second chance to full effect, making 70 and helping his side to the innings lead. The culprit on both occasions was M Vijay. In Tamil Nadu's previous match against Uttar Pradesh, another let off, this time by Abhinav Mukund at point, gave Piyush Chawla a reprieve at 9. Chawla seized the opportunity and scored 153 to help his side to a big first-innings lead.
"It's not about disappointment. It's about not latching onto the opportunities that come your way," Raman said. "Any side that commits these kinds of elementary mistakes has to pay."
With Tamil Nadu needing a win to climb up the points table from No.6, a green top was prepared to give the seamers more assistance. It didn't seem to work though, as the surface ended up producing two 500-plus scores.
"I was not surprised at all at the way the pitch behaved when I saw it on the first morning," Raman said. "It was very obvious after the first half an hour that it was going to be a bat-a-thon. All things considered we should have had the better of the exchanges."
Tamil Nadu dropped their offspinner Malolan Rangarajan for an extra seamer. Raman didn't blame the bowling combination, but reiterated that the catching was responsible for their predicament.
"The picked XI will have to do the job regardless of what the conditions are. We can't be sitting and moaning after the game thinking about what we could have done. On a track like this when the bowlers produce opportunities the catches will have to be taken.
"As far as the bowling goes, there is definitely room for consistency. But again, the number of chances floored were high as well. It is a question of which is which. Is it the chicken or the egg? If the catches were taken things would have been different."
Raman also praised Pujara, who scored 269, for playing a marathon knock to ensure Saurashtra gain the most out of the draw. "Let's not forget that one individual epitomised what commitment is all about," Raman said. "It is definitely a problem in our neck of the woods. It's obvious that if you put your mind to it, you can get things done. It was exactly what happened as far as they were concerned. On the other side of it, the heads were not there, the intent was not there. We don't have anyone but ourselves to blame."
Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo