Chennai: PC Prakash, former Tamilnadu cricketer and coach who is currently the head coach of the Karaikudi Kaalai team in TNPL is geared up for the upcoming edition of the league. Karaikudi Kaalai is a team that has been consistently performing well in TNPL. They had qualified for the knockouts during the last two season but failed to progress to the finals.
In a chat with News Today, the coach speaks about his team’s chances, TNPL, and Tamilnadu cricket. PC Prakash is optimistic of the team’s chances this year. He says, “We have a good all-round side this year
and are looking to do better this year. Our aim is to qualify for the knockouts first and then to go on and win the title which has been eluding us for the last two years.”
Excerpts from the interview:
Q: Kaaraikudi Kaalai is a team that had qualified for the knockouts but couldn’t go past the qualifiers in the last two seasons, so what is the aim for the team this year?
A: Naturally, our aim is to qualify for the knockouts first and then to go on and win the title which has been eluding us for the last two years. We have a good all-round side and we are looking to do better this year. All of us are excited. The preparations have been good and the owners have been fantastic and backed us with support from their
side. As a team, we have retained most of our players and that is a big advantage. We hope to make a mark this year.
Q: What was your main focus before picking the payers from the draft this year?
A: This year we were looking for some game-changers and hence we focussed on players who have got some experience playing T20 cricket. T20 cricket is not something that cricketers in Tamilnadu play frequently. So we were looking for some cricketers who were used to this T20 format and guys from Coimbatore have been playing the format frequently. That’s how we picked A Karuppaswamy. We were impressed with his batting and bowling skills.
Q: Karaikudi Kaalai is a side that has experienced players like Dinesh Karthik, Yo Mahesh and Srikkanth Anirudha. How will their experience help the youngsters in the team?
A: The experienced lads have especially played in the IPL which is the biggest platform for T20 cricket in India and that experience will definitely come in handy for the team because in this format not many youngsters from the state get to play a competitive tournament. So it is a good mix of players that we have where the current crop of youngsters looking to make a mark can learn a lot from the experienced players.
Q: What do you think went wrong in the last few seasons and how are
you looking to address the negative points this year?
A: I don’t say it as a negative but our opponents were a better side in some particular matches. Especially in the eliminator against Lyca Kovai Kings, which was a low scoring match, we definitely had some chance after restricting them to 132. But we lost some early wickets and then it became a little difficult to recover. They also had some experienced bowlers like Natarajan who was effective with the ball. We had a good chance of winning but it all happens in T20s.
Q: Is there any clarity on Dinesh Karthik’s availability?
A: We hope he is around and is available. Since he has overseas tours with Team India coming up we will have to wait and see. As of now, we don’t have too much information on his availability.
Q: Last year four TNPL matches were played in Chennai. This year only two matches are scheduled so what do you think about the league being played in the districts?
A: There is a lot of response for the tournament in Dindigul and Tirunelveli and the spectators are fantastic. They back the teams to the core. But it is always good to play the tournament in Chennai. This year our team is playing one match in Chennai. But it will always be great to have matches equally in Chennai and the districts because the Chennai crowd are always nice and they like to come and watch any match.
Q: What is your take on the two-day first division format?
A: Last year we had a very tight domestic schedule and to avoid that, I think it is a good idea to have a two-day league were the number of match days is less and also the workload is lesser on the players.
Q: Since you have been a coach of TN youth teams, what do you think about the talent pool available in the state?
A: TN has always been a very talented side and some of the youngsters are really coming out well. Now it is just that we have to come good as a team in the first-class level. It will happen with the kind of structure that we have and it is just a question of time. We will definitely catch-up and surely will do well in the years to come. TNPL is a great platform for players to come good and quite a few players have made a mark in the league. The talents that we have has to be nurtured properly.