Before you read him, his four overs are completed, says Madurai captain Rohit Damodaran on his team's X-factor
Ahead of the third edition of TNPL, the franchise from Madurai had a change in ownership and because of that, they changed their name to Siechem Madurai Panthers.
They have also appointed a new coach in Jagadeesh Arun Kumar and a captain in Rohit Damodaran, who is also incidentally the owner of the franchise.
Rohit might be new to TNPL but he has been plying his trade in Sri Lanka, where he was playing domestic cricket since 2014. He has played 35 first-class, 25 List A and 13 T20 matches for Chillaw Marians Cricket Club.
Sportskeeda caught up with Rohit in an exclusive interview and here are the excerpts.
Q: You have played domestic cricket in Sri Lanka. Are the conditions here different from the ones in Sri Lanka? How excited are you to play in the TNPL?
There is not a big difference in the quality of cricket, just the conditions are different there. The wickets are prepared in a better way. The wicket in Chennai suits the batters a bit more and as a batsman, I am very excited. As a team, we are new, we have a new set of support staffs, both technical and non-technical. It is very exciting to meet new people. In that way, we all are gelled up and are excited to go into the tournament.
It is a fantastic feeling. We all say that we play for our team but in my case, it is actually true. I really want to do well for the team. As far as the facilities are concerned, it is actually good. We had a fielding session last night and the ground was very good. The facilities here are world class. We are excited to get into the ground and play.
Q: How is the mood in the team ahead of the TNPL?
See, this is a completely new side and most of the guys have played together. So, it helps. In our team, the oldest player is SP Nathan, who is 37, and the youngest is just 16. Irrespective of the age, the players are gelling well together. The roommate for the 16-year-old is a 37-year-old. It's not like it is a team where different characters are put in. The mood in the camp is upbeat and the boys are really excited. For example, we had a practice session at 10 and the boys gathered there at 8:30. That's how excited they are. As of now, things are going as per the plan.
Q: The side from Madurai haven't won a single match in the first two years. Is there any expectation going into the season?
Of course, expectations are there. Without any expectation, there is no point in life. Madurai hasn't done well in the first two years. We want to change that this season.
Q: When you guys were practicing, I saw a mystery spinner bowling. Who is he? Can you just give a brief hindsight about him?
Yes, he is Varun Chakravarthy. He was our first pick in the TNPL draft. In fact, I only saw him in the nets for the first time. At that time, they were hyping him a lot. I wanted to see how good he was and I faced him in the nets. I made a joke of myself. I thought I was batting in a funny way and then I asked KB Arun Karthick to bat and then Thala (Thalaivan Sargunam) and Shijit (Shijit Chandran) faced him too. They struggled against him too. The thing is he is a mystery spinner and you don't know whether the ball is coming in or going out. And before you read him, his four overs are over. In T20s, which is a fast-paced format, I think he is going to be an unbelievable addition for us. He is going to be our X-factor this season.