T20 tournaments: Good chance for Kerala players, says Yohannan

Team’s Mushtaq Ali campaign begins on Thursday

Indian cricket’s new domestic season begins on Nov. 4, the Diwali day. Since the season-opener is the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy T20 tournament, the fireworks would not be limited just to the festival.

Kerala’s first match is against Gujarat at New Delhi. The others in Group D are Madhya Pradesh, Railways, Bihar and Assam.

Easier group

“Yes, the grouping looks easier for us compared to the last edition of the tournament, but the format is so unpredictable as India’s show at the T20 World Cup reminds us right now,” Kerala’s coach Tinu Yohannan told The Hindu on Monday. “We could take confidence from our performance in the white-ball tournaments last season.”

He is also glad that the players could get to play a lot of cricket over the past few months, despite the lockdown restrictions.

“The T20 tournaments organised by the Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) at Alappuzha proved such a blessing,” the former India Test pacer said.

“Many cricketers have thus been able to make a comeback to the side after a long time. Players like Manu Krishnan, Abdul Basith, M.S. Akhil and Vysakh Chandran made good use of the opportunities that came their way.”

Good platform

Yohannan feels the T20 tournament is a good platform also for cricketers like Vishweshwar Suresh, Vatsal Govind and Sharafudeen, especially with the expanded IPL and the mega auction.

“I can’t now say how many of them will get to play, but it is good to see that there is good competition for places in the eleven,” he said. “That performers like Krishna Prasad and Anand Joseph are only among the reserves shows how strong our bench is,” Yohannan said.

He said the team would benefit from having a mental conditioning coach. “The players have already had a few sessions with Jody Martins,” he said.

“I felt that there was a need for a qualified, experienced person like Jody. I came to know of him through coach Biju George. I am glad that the KCA appointed him for the full season,” Yohannan said.

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