Vijay Hazare Trophy: Tamil Nadu seeks to start from scratch in knockouts

CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu could have won his nine group matches on the way to qualifying for the Vijay Hazare Trophy qualifying stages, but coach D Vasu feels that the team will start from scratch when he faces Punjab in the quarterfinals at Alur on Monday .

After completing their group commitments, Tamil Nadu's team landed in Bangalore on Thursday and will have a couple of days off before resuming practice on Saturday. Vasu said that Alur's conditions will be different from those of Jaipur. It's raining here. The pitches will be different from those in which we play in Jaipur. Therefore, we cannot stop in the past. We have to start from scratch and we are not taking Punjab lightly. The good news is that all the boys are fit and in good shape. So we will be very confident in the game, Vasu told Bengaluru on Thursday.

The Punjab, too, will be driven by their efforts after qualifying for a difficult group, which included people like Delhi, UP, Vidarbha and Baroda. The topic of conversation about the team has been the tremendous bowling performances distributed by the pacemakers. Sandeep Sharma , Siddarth Kaul (both have taken 16 wickets each), Karan Kalia (13 wkts) and Leggie Mayank Markande (11 wkts).

No wonder then that the competition is between the batters in the form of Tamil Nadu and the bowlers of Punjab. What has worked for us is that all hitters have contributed. Not that we are driving with just a few hitters. Even when we lost a few quick wickets and the chips fell, the middle order took responsibility and took us beyond the finish line. However, hitters will realize that these are knockouts and every mistake will count. But it will not be just our batting and bowling. They don't have a star in the batting line -up and anyone can act on any day. Therefore, our bowlers, who have acted as a unit so far, also need to live up to the circumstances, Vasu said.

The 51-year-old said that the strong mental character helped TN seem invincible in the group stage. We have been working on mental aspects and have given players the freedom to express themselves. They have made their own decisions at crucial moments of the games and those movements have been worthwhile. We rely completely on the skills of the players. But it's not like that. It does not mean that there is no room for improvement. The elders have taken over and directed the team ahead. Hopefully, they will return to the knockout party, Vasu said.