Dindigul Dragons open their Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) engagements with a game against Madurai Super Giants at the NPR College Ground here without the services of their regular skipper and star spinner R Ashwin, who is away on national duty. But the ‘home’ team is quite upbeat as the tall offie has been in regular touch sharing his ideas and offering inputs on how to handle the pressure. “It’s a big plus for us that R Ashwin will be part of the team from the second game which is on August 30, and we have the team to deliver the goods in the opening game,” pointed out Dragons coach Venkataramana, on the eve of the clash.
Murugan Ashwin, who caught the attention of many when he played for Pune Supergiants in this year’s Indian Premier League, will be available for selection. Dragons possess a good bunch of allrounders in Wilkins Victor and Adithya Arun. “We have a lot of quality in our ranks and you would get to see that as the tournament progresses,” said Subramania Siva, Dragons’ stand-in skipper.
Super Giants, on the other hand, have a host of district players in their squad – the most in any side in the competition. “The district cricketers play a lot of Twenty20 matches and know the nuances of this format well. It’s definitely a big advantage having them in the mix,” revealed Dayanidhi Alagiri, team director of Super Giants. The team is led by KB Arun Karthick, and also has the experienced P Amarnath and G Vignesh in their ranks.
Former Australian cricketer Michael Bevan, the coach of the side, is happy with the way the wicket behaved in the opening game here on Thursday (August 25) night. “The pitch really seemed conducive for T20 cricket. It is nice for the team members to get an understanding about how the pitch played. We can now sit down and talk about what our plans are from the bowling perspective, and about the opposition we face,” said Bevan.
The encounter could witness a battle within a battle when leggie M Ashwin comes up to bowl to Arun Karthick. While M Ashwin has the knack of keeping it tight, it will be interesting to see the approach that Arun takes.