After finishing runner-up in the last edition, Tamil Nadu skipper Dinesh Karthik expressed satisfaction after leading his side to the 2021 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy title win. He highlighted his teammates stamping their authority on the national setup, while expressing desire of bringing more laurels to the state.
While they fell short by just one run to Karnataka in December 2019, Tamil Nadu convincingly beat Baroda by seven wickets on Sunday (January 31) to win their second SMAT title – their first since the inaugural 2006-07 edition.
Attributing the triumph to a concerted effort, Dinesh Karthik gave special mentions to state lads Washington Sundar and T Natarajan, who turned in match-winning performances on the recently-concluded Australia tour.
“Really hurt us last year. We have played some really good cricket and we have been pretty consistent throughout. Just the fact that there are players like Natarajan and Washington Sundar in the Indian team, those guys were around last year playing this tournament for us. Just to see those guys go there, I am sure there’ll be a few more going from here.
“There have been so many good performances throughout the season. We are able to produce cricketers to play for the country, that’s always a sign of a team doing well. You understand your cricket over a period of time. I am very keen on taking our state cricket forward and playing for the country is always on my mind,” Dinesh Karthik, who scored 183 runs at an average of 61 across six outings, said during the post-match presentation.
Seven players from yesterday’s playing XI ply their trade in the IPL, while captain Dinesh Karthik have also remained an India regular in his heyday.
“To have an IPL game here is going to be fantastic” – Dinesh Karthik on the new Ahmedabad stadium
Playing all their league matches in Kolkata, Tamil Nadu topped Group B after bossing all four games. They then shifted bio-secure bubbles to Ahmedabad with the knockout stages scheduled to be played at the newly-constructed Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera.
While lauding Gujarat’s cricketing body for successfully pulling off the logistical challenges, Dinesh Karthik spoke highly of the world’s largest cricket stadium and sounded fascinated of playing IPL games at the new venue.
“This is the biggest stadium in the world. The outfield and the wickets throughout were fantastic. To have an IPL game here is going to be fantastic. Everything looks big here. Support staff have done a great job. We do all the strategies together. I would like to thank Gujarat Cricket Association, for taking care of us really well in the bubble,” Dinesh Karthik concluded.
Interestingly, it was Dinesh Karthik only who had led Tamil Nadu to their maiden SMAT crown in the 2006-07 season.