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TNPL brings young talent to the fore

The dust has settled on the first edition of the India Cements-Tamil Nadu Premier League. The competition, won by Albert Tuti Patriots, has thrown up several young, exciting names.

Eye-catching: Left-arm paceman T. Natarajan made a big impression in the recently concluded TNPL. Photo: M. Vedhan

These were the little known players who made a big impact. Let’s focus on such cricketers, some of them from districts, who surprised many with their influential displays.

None made a bigger impression than left-arm paceman T. Natarajan. He generated pace and extracted bounce from a whippy action. Clocking around 135 kmph on a consistent basis, he struck at the beginning of the innings and sent down scorching yorkers at the ‘death’. He is someone who does hit the bat hard.

And Natarajan appears to have put his problems with bowling action behind. His bowling was marked by fluency at the crease. Not since L. Balaji has a paceman from the State appeared so promising.

More than the 10 wickets he took for Dindigul Dragons, it was the manner in which he bowled that caught the eye.

Former South Zone batsman and Tuti Patriots chief coach J.R. Madanagopal, an astute cricketing mind, said to The Hindu, “Natarajan is able to bowl yorkers at will. And he is sharp.”

N. Jagadeesan, the leading scorer in the competition with 397, demanded attention too with his clean hitting at the top of the order for the Dindigul side. “He is such an uncomplicated batsman, keeps it simple, and plays without fear. He finds the gaps, and keeps putting the ball away for boundaries,” said Madanagopal.

Another top-order batsman, Kaushik Gandhi, has been around for some time without quite receiving the opportunities he deserved. The right-hander notched up 366 for Patriots, his attacking batsmanship rooted in sound fundamentals. Much of his cover-driving was all about quality. “He is a talented batsman who deserves a decent run and is an ultimate team-man,” said Madanagopal.

This was a tournament where left-arm spinners proved winners. Chepauk Super Gillies’s R. Sai Kishore may have finished on the losing side in the final, but seems the real deal across formats. There was rhythm, turn and bounce for this lanky bowler who delivers from a high-arm action.

Left-arm spinner M.S. Sanjay of Dindigul Dragons had his moments as well, scalping 11 in the competition “He bowled well both in the PowerPlay overs and at the ‘death’. And he has an uncanny knack of picking up wickets. He is a brilliant fielder too,” said Madanagopal.

Tuti Patriots’s Ganesh Moorthi — the final’s four-wickets-in-an-over-man — is a good bet for the game’s shorter variety. Madanagopal said, “He bowls from an angle, uses the crease and varies his trajectory.”

TNPL also brought to the fore two hard-hitting seam-bowling all-rounders in Lyca Kovai Kings’s Harish Kumar and Karaikudi Kaalai’s R. Rajkumar.

Washington Sundar’s batting skills are well-known, but his off-spin for Patriots was a revelation.

And watch out for that pacey slinger from Patriots, Athisayaraj Davidson.