The Tamil Nadu boys of cricket have always been well behaved, disciplined; basically the “good boys” or the front benchers in Indian cricket, so to say. The Chepauk stadium sure is one of India’s most iconic grounds producing only the 2nd ever tied test in cricket history back in 1986 or be it the 2008 England test after the Mumbai attacks. The Madras Cricket Club ground has traditionally been a spinner’s ground all credits to the dry nature of the pitch. The pitch not favoring seamer’s is one of the reasons why Tamil Nadu has had very few good fast bowlers representing the state. It is surely ironic that a generation of Indian fast bowlers came out of the MRF Pace Foundation in Chennai but none of them were from the home state. The 2 time Ranji winning state has produced a lot of great cricketers who have gone on to don the Indian colors.
Here’s a look at the all time best Tamil Nadu XI:
I Krishnamachari Srikkanth (c)
Fondly called “Mad Max” by his former opening partner Sunil Gavaskar, he was one of the pillars of Indian batting back in the day. His aggressive style of play is what made him stand out and his exploits with his opening partner paved way for India’s success during the period. In the 43 tests he played for India, he averaged 29.88, while he played 146 white ball games for the country scoring 4091 runs at an average 29.01. He was a mainstay in the Indian cricket team during the historic period when they won the World Cup in 1983 and Benson & Hedges Cup of 1985.
II Murali Vijay
Known as the “Monk” of Indian cricket, Murali Vijay was first discovered in IPL where his strokeplay earned him an India call up. He made his debut in 2008 and has been India’s premier test opener ever since. He is known for adapting well overseas and has amassed runs in the testing conditions of SA, England and New Zealand. He averages around 40 in the 59 test matches he has played so far scoring 12 hundreds.
III Abhinav Mukund
Abhinav Mukund has been in and out of the Indian team forever. He is the go to 4th opener whenever the regular test openers have been unavailable. It is his high consistency in the domestic circuit which has earned him this spot. He has played 7 test matches for India and has scored two 50s. However his first class average is 47.2 of 129 games and has a triple century to his name.
IV Subramaniam Badrinath
S Badrinath was one of the integral members of the CSK squad in its early years. He was a part of the two time championship winning squad. He was a technically sound batsman with an appetite for runs. He played the role of a floater in CSK’s T20 games and could come in at any batting position and control the situation from there. He averaged 54.49 in his 142 first class games. He truly was one of Tamil Nadu’s finest batsmen in the post 2000 era. He would have had a great Indian career if he hadn’t existed in the fab 4 generation.
V Dinesh Karthik (wk)
Dinesh Karthik is a wicket keeper batsman who has been in and out of the Indian squad right from his U-19 days. He can be called slightly unfortunate as M.S Dhoni played for India, the same time. But Dinesh Karthik has been a consistent performer for Tamil Nadu. His new found form in white ball cricket earned him an Indian call up in 2018 and he sure did make a mark scoring 29 off 8 deliveries to win the title. He has played 80 one day games for India and 26 tests.
VI Hemang Badani
Badani was a constant in India’s One Day set up in the post match-fixing generation. He played 40 One Day games for India and is remembered for the only hundred he scored against Australia. Hemang Badani, a calm head made his India debut at 23 and was a sleek fielder. He averaged 45.67 in first class games and scored 14 hundreds.
VII Sridharan Sriram
S Sriram was a child prodigy with his exploits at the junior level. He scalped 29 wickets in India’s U-19 tour of SA. He became the 3rd batsman to score 1000 runs in a domestic season which brought him under the national selectors’ radar. He was an all-rounder with great potential. His left arm orthodox bowling and stylish left hand bat made him a treat to watch. In the 133 first class games he played, he scored 9539 runs at an average of 52.99 and took 85 wickets.
VIII Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravi Ashwin is another product of IPL whose potential was recognized by MS Dhoni. He has been a magnificent performer for India. He has been the no. 1 bowler and all-rounder at different occasions. Ashwin is a thinking cricketer who always likes to get ahead of the batsmen. He is also versatile and keeps adding new tricks to his books, the most recent being leg spin. Ashwin was ICC cricketer of the year and ICC Test cricketer of the year in 2016 making him the third Indian after Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar to do so.
IX Laxman Sivaramakrishnan
This Tamil Nadu leggie made his India debut when he was just 17 making him the youngest Indian cricketer to play for India then. He deceived the batsmen as he had the ability to make the ball dip late in its flight. He took 130 wickets in his first class career and 26 wickets in the 9 tests he played for India. His career was short lived but impactful. L Siva is now a renowned commentator.
X TA Sekhar
Sekar was one of the fastest Indian bowlers in the early eighties. He replaced Madan Lal in India’s 1982-83. He played for Tamil Nadu for almost 10 years and took 74 wickets. His major contribution to Indian cricket was as bowling coach ath the MRF Pace Foundation in Chennai. He also served as a national selector.
XI Laxmipathy Balaji
L Balaji was probably the only fast bowler from Tamil Nadu who played for India for a considerable amount of time. Balaji made his debut in 2003 and went on to play 8 tests and 30 ODIs for India. Balaji with a peculiar action bowled at some pace. He suffered from injuries which had him in and out of the Indian squad. He picked up the first hattrick in IPL history in its inaugural edition for CSK. Balaji has been a part of the championship winning side for CSK and KKR. He is now bowling coach for CSK.