Chennaiyin FC had another inconsistent season in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL), finishing eighth on the points table for the third season running. But unlike the previous two seasons, this season the Marina Machans have shown a clear strategy under Thomas Brdaric and have built a good foundation to build on.

The two-time Hero ISL champions underwent a massive squad overhaul ahead of the 2022-23 season and signed full-back Ajith Kumar as part of that squad revamp.

Ajith, who joined the Marina Machans from Bengaluru FC, has already gained popularity among fans thanks to his impressive debut season. He became an integral part of the Chennayin FC team and vital to manager Brdaric’s plans. The defender has opened up about moving to his hometown club Chennaiyin FC.

“I honestly found it easy to adapt because I already know several players in the Chennaiyin FC squad. This is my hometown as well, and it does not get any better than that. I knew about the coach and analyzed everything before moving to the club,” Ajith said in an interview with Sportskeeda.

The 26-year-old came into the side with a lot of experience in the Hero ISL playing in multiple roles for Bengaluru FC in the previous two seasons. So, he certainly fitted the bill for the German tactician. Ajith revealed how he has re-established himself in the Hero ISL and what improvements he has made under the new coach.

“If you look at our style of play, we attack through the flanks and cross a lot. I was poor at crossing, but the head coach provided inputs during every session and taught me about the timings of my runs and crosses,” the defender stated.

“In terms of defending, I was coached a lot about my positioning with and without the ball and the basics of defending as well,” he added.

Ajith appeared 15 times for the Marina Machans this season and was sidelined for the remaining matches due to an injury. But despite the fact, he recorded the most interceptions (34) and the second-most successful tackles (28) in the squad.

The defender welcomes the competition at right-back with Edwin Vanspaul and believes competition is the best way to develop and grow.

“I wanted to play all 90 minutes but suffered a fracture on my finger against East Bengal towards the end of the season. But competition for places is healthy for the team. It has helped me push myself and improve my level of performance,” he said.

“Both of us push each other and because of this, we can improve individually and as a team as well. But the competition is only on the pitch and we have a close relationship off the field,” Ajith added.