2017-18 Ranji Trophy: 5 things that went wrong for Tamil Nadu this season
Abhinav Mukund, Murali Vijay, R Ashwin, Dinesh Karthik, Vijay Shankar, Baba twins, Washington Sundar, K Vignesh, these were the names that were included in the Tamil Nadu squad at the start of the season. The team looked strong on paper and the semi-finalists from the last season came into the Ranji Trophy as one of the title favourites.
But, to everyone's surprise, the Abhinav-led side were knocked out of India's premier tournament after the first round, finishing fourth in their group which had the likes of Mumbai, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra, Tripura, Assam and Baroda.
They drew five out of their six matches, taking the first-innings lead in three of them, before losing their last group game against Baroda, ending the season without a single win under their belt.
A lot of things went against them. Let us take a look at five reasons behind Tamil Nadu's dismal performance in the Ranji Trophy.
Lack of good spinners in the side
Over the years, Tamil Nadu has had the knack of producing a lot of good spin bowlers which is evident from the fact that the likes of Srinivas Venkataraghavan, R Ashwin, VV Kumar etc. have come up the TN ranks. The wicket at the MA Chidambaram Stadium is traditionally a rank turner and that is considered to be one of the reasons why the state has produced a lot of spin bowlers.
Unfortunately, the ongoing domestic season saw TN struggle without a frontline spinner and it is one of the main reasons why they failed to make it to the next round. All-rounder Washington Sundar, who bowled just 153 overs in 11 innings, was the best spinner in the TN squad as he ended the season with 12 wickets at an average of 35.66 and a strike-rate of 76, numbers that are not bad for a spinner whose primary job is not to bowl regularly.
The team's experienced spinner Rahil Shah failed miserably this season as he managed to take only nine wickets at an average of 54.3 and a strike-rate of 105. Rahil bowled in four fewer innings and bowled four more overs when compared to Washington without any reward. He was dropped for the last few matches and replaced by R Sai Kishore, who managed to take just three wickets in six innings in the tournament.
Malolan Rangarajan, who is also an experienced spinner, played just one match in the tournament and returned home with an empty hand from the 21 overs he bowled. Even R Ashwin, who played three matches for TN, managed just 11 wickets at an average of 40.