R Ashwin launches talent hunt program to help Tamil Nadu level up in red-ball cricket

Scouts will have the task to find raw talents and nurture them into state-level players.

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Tamil Nadu Cricket Association has launched a program to scout talented bowlers after their journey at the Ranji Trophy ended early once again. Tamil Nadu have failed to advance beyond the group stages in the previous five editions after reaching the semifinals in the 2016–17 season. 

Veteran Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has launched the program which will focus on finding good bowlers from around the state. Scouts will have the task to find raw talents and nurture them into state-level players. 

“There is a lot of talent in the districts of the state (Tamil Nadu). The emergence of T Natarajan is a case in point. And through the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL), which has acted as a vehicle for budding talent since its inception, players such as N Jagadeesan and B Sai Sudharsan have come up the ranks," Ashwin said.

Tamil Nadu were successful in persuading Sandeep Warrier to relocate from Kerala because T Natarajan was injured and unable to play. Warrier was their only speedster who can bowl in any conditions, even during the current season. While Tamil Nadu have a strong cricketing culture right from age-group cricket, white-ball cricket has become more and more popular in recent years.

Coimbatore, Villupuram, Cuddalore, Tiruvarur, Trichy, Kanyakumari, Madurai, Dindigul, Ramanathapuram, Namakkal, Dharmapuri, Kancheepuram, and Vellore are the locations where the programme will be held. The idea is to discover gifted individuals in the 14–24 age range and hold periodic sessions at the TNCA Academy in Chennai, where strength and conditioning trainers, biomechanics specialists, and skill-based coaches would continuously assess their development. 

“Planning is one thing, and executing is quite another. As a bowling scout, you can assess and monitor the bowler’s action, his accuracy, the revolutions he imparts on the ball (in the case of a spinner), and the X factor he possesses. Identifying the right talent is the key and of equal importance is sustaining them over a period of time. TNCA can utilise my services in any capacity as I understand what it takes to play at a high-performance level. It is vital to have a robust supply chain of cricketers given the packed schedule these days and the number of injuries,” Ashwin added.

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