'Players need to motivate each other'

Karnataka may have walked into their Ranji Trophy match against hosts Tamil Nadu starting from Friday with little less to worry about had two of their best fielders not dropped simple catches in the team’s opening match against Baroda.

Manish Pandey dropped Irfan Pathan while left-arm spinner KP Appanna fumbled a simple return offer from Aditya Waghmode. Both the Baroda batsmen went on to score centuries and helped their team claim three points by virtue of the first-innings lead.

“Yeah that was something that was not expected. Everyone knows how good Pandey and Appanna are on the field,” said Karnataka batting coach J Arun Kumar before the start of the team’s practice session at the MA Chidambaram stadium on Thursday.

“I guess they were just anxious as it was the first Ranji Trophy game of the season and they wanted to prove a point. The other thing I noticed was that they were not enjoying it out there on the field. They need to be talking and motivating each other. I sat down and spoke to each one of them personally and I’m sure we will be better henceforth,” explained the former Karnataka skipper.

Before their lacklustre display against Baroda, Karnataka had put on some fine performances in the Safi Darashah Trophy and the Buchi Babu Trophy earlier in the season.

“This is the best Karnataka team we have fielded in many years. I expect us to win the Ranji Trophy three or four times in the next decade because this is a great unit. We should dominate the Ranji trophy for the next five years at least. Even the second-string is strong and that’s something that shows that we are a strong line-up,” said the 37-year-old.

Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu coach VB Chandrasekhar was not too worried about losing out on the services of R Ashwin and Murali Vijay. “It is nice to see that Ashwin and Vijay are playing for India. I don’t mind if a couple of more guys from this team play for India too,” said the former India international. “It gives us a chance to field some of the youngsters so that’s not worrying us.”

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