Weather holds key to TN-Railways Ranji match

Chennai: Weather permitting, former champions Tamil Nadu would be eyeing an outright win over Railways in their fourth Ranji Trophy Elite Group A league match starting here tomorrow.

The city has been experiencing intermittent showers during the last two days and weathermen have predicted heavy to very heavy rains in the the next 48 hours starting 8.30 am on Tuesday in view of a low pressure area in the Bay of Bengal.

As for the competitiveness of the teams, the hosts have better all-round strength compared to the Railways, more so since the retirement of off-spinner Kulamani Parida for having been called ‘chucker’ by umpires for his bowling action.

Parida (33), who had played major role in Railways winning matches in the past during his 15-year career, had claimed 320 wickets at 28.68 from 108 matches.

As for Tamil Nadu batting, the top order of Abhinav Mukund, Anirudha, Badrinath, Arun Karthik have been in good form and captain and wicketkeeper batsman Dinesh Karthik to some extent was also among runs.

In the bowling department, spinners Ashwin and Aushik Srinivas and medium pacers L Balaji and Sunil Sam have done well though they were unable to get the required breakthroughs despite having helped Tamil Nadu to maintain a clean slate from three matches.

Mukund has made 347 runs from three matches with his highest being 232 against Saurashtra, while Badrinath is in a different league having retained the second place among highest run getters in Ranji Trophy this season so far.

Badrinath, besides being the anchor and having helped the team manage a draw against Delhi with a timely 104 in hosts’ total of 208, had made 195 against Saurashtra last Friday. He missed a deserving century by falling for 95 against Assam.

Both Anirudha (216 runs including a 95) and Arun Karthick (140 including a 107) have been in good nick.

As for bowling, off-spinner Ashwin has been the hosts’ main strike bowler having claimed 16 wickets (including 11 in the match against Delhi) and Aushik has been his able ally.

Balaji, who is back in the team after being dropped on fitness issues for two matches earlier, was instrumental in Tamil Nadu’s win against Assam.

For Railways, Sanjay Bangar has been the mainstay and opener V Cheluvaraj, Yere Goud and T P Singh have been promising with their bats while in bowling, former India spinner Murali Karthik remains the lone specialist bowler.

Bangar is a known medium pacer and their attack rely on fast bowler Shailender Gehlot and these three have the capabilities to turn the tide in their favour.