Tamil Nadu's victory in the Ranji one-day tournament was a collective effort, the team's coach Woorkeri Raman has said. Tamil Nadu beat Bengal by 66 runs in the final in Agartala on Monday despite missing big names like L Balaji, Dinesh Karthik and M Vijay. "It's not all about names. It's about performing collectively," he told the Hindu. "It was a competition where everyone contributed."
Abhinav Mukund starred for Tamil Nadu, scoring 118 in a total of 284. Despite a determined 76 by Manoj Tiwary, Bengal fell well short of the target as the Tamil Nadu bowlers kept chipping away, with fast bowler R Suthesh and offspinner R Ashwin taking three wickets each. "We batted Bengal out of the match," Raman said. It was a crucial innings for Abhinav on a personal level as well. Having scored heavily in the Ranji Trophy, he needed to make his presence felt in the shorter version of the game."
Tamil Nadu faced some stiff competition in the knock-out stages, most notably in the semi-final against Uttar Pradesh where they recovered from a hopeless 48 for 5 to win by 36 runs. The batsman who helped them do so was Suresh Kumar who made 94 and took two wickets as UP were dismissed for 162. "Suresh Kumar is a batsman with immense possibilities," Raman said. "He has time to play the ball and should blossom into a very, very good batsman in a couple of years from now."
Raman also praised his bowlers who managed to defend a moderate score despite missing L Balaji. "It was a good pitch and Uttar Pradesh has depth in its batting. We did extremely well on the field," he said. "Newcomer R. Suthesh, a left-arm paceman, bowled well. So did C. Ganapathy, who operated with control. Yomahesh is gradually gaining back his confidence. R. Ashwin (was restrictive and) struck with his off-spin.
"We made it hard for the opposition to score freely and forced mistakes. We played only four specialist bowlers and the occasional bowlers chipped in usefully."
Raman admitted he was disappointed at not reaching the Ranji Trophy finals after losing on first innings to Uttar Pradesh in the semis. But he was happy about ending the domestic season with a victory in the one-dayers. "I would have been happier had we travelled to Hyderabad for the final. But it is nice to end the season with a triumph. There is a lot of promise in this side."