Better team won, says skipper Balaji

Better team won, says skipper Balaji

Lakshmipathi Balaji has always been a conscientious, hard-working cricketer who hasn’t believed in cutting corners or looking for excuses.

It was, therefore, no surprise to hear the Tamil Nadu skipper being gracious in defeat to Rajasthan after the Ranji Trophy final ended at the MA Chidambaram stadium on Monday.

“Normally, I am not a great believer in the toss and the wicket,” Balaji said in the evening. “I am someone who places greater emphasis on skill, intelligence and courage. This match in particular was not dependent on the toss. The wicket was a bit flat, but no complaints.

Better skills won, better intelligence won and I give all the credit to the opposition.

“We have had a very good journey as a team. For 37 days, we stuck together and we can take a lots of positives from this season,” added the former India paceman. “In a tournament of this nature, it’s all about how you finish, and definitely we were not up to the mark in the final. Their resilience, temperament and patience won Rajasthan the game. My hearty congratulations to Vineet (Saxena, the man of the match), Akash (Chopra) and (Rajasthan skipper) Hrishikesh Kanitkar, who all played on and on and batted for nearly 250 overs. That’s what you want in knockout games, that’s what they showed.”

Balaji had a huge pat for 18-year-old left-arm spinner R Aushik Srinivas, who bowled 85 overs in the Rajasthan first innings. “He has been one of our major strengths,” observed Balaji. “He would have learnt a lot. He will go to the next level and perform for the state again and again in the future. I wish him all the luck. Bowling 90 overs is not easy, it definitely was hard work.”

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