Having made a splash on his debut in the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) 2022, fast bowler Ajay Krishna has announced his arrival in style. Plying his trade for the Ruby Trichy Warriors, the speedster has rushed batters with his skiddy pace and is already making a statement as one of the brightest young talents to watch out for.
Krishna experienced nerves leading into the contest and it wasn't until he got to the venue that he was made aware of his selection in the playing XI. Keeping all of that behind, though, he started his TNPL career with a maiden before finishing with match-winning figures of 4-1-9-2.
A familiar face in Dindigul Dragons captain Hari Nishaanth stood in front of him as he had the new ball in hand. Krishna has bowled a lot to the southpaw in the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) nets and in an exclusive chat with Sportskeeda, stated that his focus was on sticking to the basics. He explained:
"Nobody knew what the playing XI was until we reached the ground. I was actually nervous whether I was going to play or not but I had to be prepared. I can’t go there and prepare myself - if I was going to play all of a sudden it doesn’t work right? We had a meeting on who was in the opponent, their batters etc. We usually have our team meetings and we discussed the same.
"One good thing was I know Hari anna well because he was there in CSK and I’ve bowled a lot to him. I just wanted to stick to the basics and that’s what the captain said - to stick to your basics and do your strengths. Partnerships don’t work only on the batting front, it works with the ball as well. If you’re not able to control runs at one end you have to come and back your partner at the other end. So that’s what I was trying to do."
Krishna also talked about the support extended to him by Warriors skipper and veteran left-arm spinner Rahil Shah. He added:
"As a captain, he doesn’t put pressure on a certain player. If he would have mentioned my name and if I would have heard that I would have felt ‘Oh he’s already told good things about me so I have to live up to those expectations.’
"I didn’t have any barrier on me…he left me free to do my thing. He told me to go for my thing and that if it didn’t work we can look into it later."
Ajay Krishna on sharing the dressing room with Murali Vijay
The Warriors outfit boast the presence of 61-Test veteran Murali Vijay for the ongoing TNPL 2022 season. Krishna delved into the support the opening batter has extended, not just to him but to all the youngsters in the team. Krishna said:
This is the first time I’m meeting him in person actually. He brings a lot of experience with him. Every time we enter a practice session or a match, he’s always talking to the young boys saying ‘Enjoy your game, do your best. You should always enjoy each and every ball. That’s how you can get good results, not by putting pressure on your brain. Enjoy what you’re doing and the result will be the best.'
"Every time you do something good, he comes and tells you. He takes time, comes and tells me. What else do you want? A senior player comes and tells you that you’re on the right path and we just follow it, right? (smiles)"
The Trichy Warriors came agonizingly close to lifting the title last season. When asked about the morale of the team to go one step further this year, Krishna spoke about the motto centered around putting in those extra one to two percentages on the field. He elaborated:
"The discussion was that last year other teams would have looked at us like ‘Everyone is a newcomer, they don’t have a big player as such. It’s a young side…’ They might have taken us lightly but this year they won’t since they know that we’ve been in the final and were the runners-up.
"They’ll be prepared with strategies so it’s about how we overcome pressure and how you outdo them. If you succeed in doing one or two percent extra than what we did last year we will succeed this year. That’s what our motto is."
"I would love to be the match-winner for my team in every match" - Ajay Krishna
Following a match-winning performance on his TNPL debut, does Krishna have a particular wicket-tally in mind by the time the season is done? He replied:
"I always feel that when you’re playing a tournament it’ll be best if you can do your best as a bowler. You can maybe be the leading wicket-taker of the tournament…when you’ve entered a platform like TNPL, if you want to leave your mark then you have to do something like being the leading run-getter, Man of the Series or top wicket-taker.
"That would be great for my career. I haven’t kept any number as such in mind but I would love to be the match-winner for my team in each and every match."
Hailing from Ernakulam in Kerala, Krishna is pursuing his Bachelor of Arts in Coimbatore. He has his sights firmly set on graduating up the ladder towards the Tamil Nadu domestic team, while sticking to the process on hand. He concluded by saying:
"As a cricketer you always have to have your goals. Playing for the state is a different feeling. It’s a big thing so you have to aim for it and keep working towards that. But as of now I’m not putting so much pressure on myself in the sense that if I don’t do well here I won’t get picked.
"I just want to take one match at a time and finish this tournament on an excellent note. Then by God’s grace if everything falls into place we’ll work on what’s next."
Having made a promising start to his young career despite being a late bloomer in the sport, sky truly is the limit for Ajay Krishna.