Ranji Trophy 2023-24: There’s belief in the group after important win, says TN skipper Sai Kishore

Besides his bowling, skipper Sai Kishore’s 59 (85b, 3×4, 3×6) and his 84-run seventh-wicket stand with N. Jagadeesan were crucial for Tamil Nadu to bloat its first innings score to 489 that eventually led to an outright innings win against Railways in the Ranji Trophy here on Sunday.

Speaking about his innings, the TN captain said after the win: “I thought we should at least have a 50-run partnership. 500 was the score in my mind.”

“To be fair, at that time, the wicket was much better for batting. So, it all flowed. Jaggi and I, we’ve played together for around 10 years. We both have a very good understanding of each other’s game. So, it was easy for me. I just tried to play for a partnership of 50-60 runs. That just flowed and I myself scored around 60 runs!”

Speaking about when the team felt it could go for an outright win, he said: “They (Railways) played superbly yesterday (Saturday). Pratham Singh was terrific with the bat. Today morning, we went into the match wanting to see how it goes. We didn’t know. I came with zero expectations. I didn’t have any specific plan and all.”

“But after we were in, Sandy (Sandeep Warrier) bowled really well. Indian wickets aren’t usually conducive for pace bowlers on, say, the third and fourth days. On this third-day wicket too, the way Sandy bowled, it got to us directly. He picked up Pratham’s wicket, and from there, we all flowed.”

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“Mohamed Ali (19) bowled well. It was his first match, and I didn’t know what to expect from him. But he delivered. He showed the character that he has, showed that he could handle this level.”

On Jagadeesan’s match-winning marathon innings (245 n.o., 402b, 25×4, 4×6), he said: “Fantastic innings. I couldn’t be any happier. We all got a little bit of goosebumps by the time he scored his hundred itself.

“But what I told him was to make it big and not be satisfied with the hundred. This season has been rough for him. So, the communication was like, ‘When you’re scoring well, make it big, make it 200, make it 250.’”

After Jagadeesan expressed gratitude to his captain for bestowing him with the best opportunity by making him open the innings, Sai Kishore responded: “But it was not just for Jaggi, if it had been the same for any player, I would have done the same thing.”

“People who’ve scored runs, people who I feel can contribute, for them that backing is required. Only then, they’ll be able to flow naturally. If I say, ‘You haven’t scored for two matches, I will drop you,’ the next match you won’t feel like playing for your team but for yourself; they would become selfish. So, I would have done the same thing for anyone.”

On the impact of the win and the positives from the match, he said: “This win is very important in the points table. This makes us stay alive. Now there’s belief in the group.”

“A lot of positives. Youngsters fielded really well, brought great energy. Seniors took responsibility.”

Asked if he’s been working harder on his batting, he said: “You have to be relevant in this day and age. Even if you have the ability to take wickets at the first-class level, batting is needed to be relevant at the next level.”

“So, it’s been constant work for 2-3 years. I had the batting skill. But I’ve been able to get that game awareness in the last one-and-a-half years. I got that in white-ball cricket quickly. To get that in red-ball cricket took me some time.”

Source website: sportstar.thehindu.com

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