There was a time when Tamil Nadu played and won the Subbiah Pillai tournament, away from home, with just 12 players because the State Association wouldn’t permit more. And injuries meant it played the opening match with just 10 players and a local substitute. Interestingly, Tamil Nadu went on to win the title.

From that extreme to the present times. When Dinesh Karthik leads the team for the Syed Mushtaq Ali Twenty20 tournament – the matches in the group featuring Tamil Nadu will be held in Kolkata from January 10 to 19 – he will have 19 other players with him!

The 20-member squad is a direct consequence of COVID-19. Each team is going with five additional players since you can never tell who would be struck down by the virus. Tamil Nadu reached the final last season and is title contender this time, too.

“Dinesh Karthik is a positive captain, he is a dynamic person and is the…

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