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Tamil Nadu coach Kulkarni: 'We lost the Ranji Trophy semi-final at 9am on day one'

"We should have bowled first but the captain had some different instinct," he said

R Sai Kishore is pumped up after taking a wicket  •  PTI

R Sai Kishore is pumped up after taking a wicket  •  PTI

A campaign that ended in semi-final heartbreak for Tamil Nadu has now been jolted by coach Sulakshan Kulkarni's remark that his team lost the match right at the toss on the opening day.
Kulkarni made it clear in no uncertain terms the captain, R Sai Kishore, made the call despite conventional wisdom and his own knowledge of conditions having played and coached for Mumbai, suggesting they should've bowled first.
"I always speak straightforward - we lost the match at 9 o'clock on day one," Kulkarni said after Tamil Nadu were handed an innings defeat by Mumbai inside three days at the Bandra Kurla Complex Ground. "The moment I saw the wicket I exactly knew what we were going to get.
"Everything was set, we won the toss, as a coach, as a Mumbaikar, I know the conditions well. We should have bowled but the captain had some different instinct."
Dinesh Karthik, the India wicketkeeper, termed Kulkarni's comments as "so wrong" and "disappointing", while former TN captain Hemang Badani felt Kulkarni had "thrown Sai Kishore under the bus" with his comments in the aftermath of their defeat.
Sai Kishore's decision to bat first backfired spectacularly as TN were tottering at 42 for 5. They were eventually bowled out for 146. Then they had Mumbai reeling at 106 for 7, before a century from Shardul Thakur hauled Mumbai out of a tricky situation. They eventually managed to make 378, which all but ensured TN were batted out of the game.
"When I saw that they had played on a different pitch in the quarter-final and what wicket they gave, I realised that this is a seaming-friendly wicket and it was going to be a very tough match, and we would have to play really well to win this game," Kulkarni said. "Ultimately he [Sai Kishore] is the boss. I can give my feedback and inputs (on) the kind of wickets and Mumbai's mindset.
"We were mentally prepared that whoever wins the toss would bowl first. We knew that we would bowl first. The moment they (on the TV broadcast) heard we would bat first, whatever you say (on how tough it can be to bat early on), it goes in the batsmen's minds. That first half an hour (before play) got in the batsmen's minds.
"When you get into the first over, where the third (fourth) ball, your international player gets out and you see the situation… in the first hour, it's difficult. We lost the plot in the first hour, it's very difficult to come back from there."