HYDERABAD: Gone are the days when coaching a team was a one-man job. The fast paced entertainment sport of today lays huge demands on the coaches, turning their roles more specialised and demanding, particularly with the advent of the Twenty20 matches.
A coach is either directly or indirectly involved in nurturing the players, their skills, planning a strategy for the team and also managing the events off the field. The teams, likewise prefer to hire coaches who are specialised in batting, bowling and fielding, often reluctantly leaving behind the old school of playing with the adaptation of technologies like computers and software while training the players.
Former Hyderabad Ranji left-arm spinner R Sridhar, the Level 3 coach, firmly believes in scientific coaching. “The use of computer and technology is unavoidable in modern day coaching. A lot of strategies are made in the drawing board. The dragon wheel is drawn out so that player can see his mistakes, ’’ says Sridhar, who has been the appointed fielding coach in NCA. Prsesntly, there are three other specialised coaches, Dav Whatmore of Australia for batting, Bharath Arun for bowling and Dinesh Nanavati for wicketkeeping.
Sridhar, who was appointed after his work was appreciated by Whatmore notes that the Australian Cricket Board was perhaps the first to realized the need to train on using technology in the sport.
The Indian Cricket Board, soon followed suit after some initial hiccups, by forming the National Cricket Academy (NCA) on the lines of the Australian Coaching Academy, bringing a sea change in the way training is imparted on improving the team’s chances of winning the game, as well as planning out strategies.
Sridhar, an officer in the State Bank of Hyderabad, will be travelling to different parts of the country for coaching. “Modern day cricket is all about fielding. And therefore it is important for every cricketer to develop fielding from a young age. The key to be a good fielder is fitness.
In the past, fielding was never given importance.
It was only next to batting and bowling.
Many of the teams are focusing on fitness and fielding,’’ says Sridhar, who topped the 2007 Level 3 examination to become a successful coach now.
Speaking about the business of fielding, Sridhar feels that South Africa and Australia are passionate about fielding.
“It is picking up in India too. We have some excellent fielders like Suresh Raina, Ravinder Jadeja, Rohit Sharma and other. They are athletic and sharp. I think the best fielder in the world is now AB De Villiers. So is Herschelle Gibbs (South Africa), Tillekeratne Dilshan (Sri Lanka),” adds the coach, who has also conducted fielding practice sessions to India under- 19 team and the Indian team at Bangalore.
“(Mahendra Singh) Dhoni is full of energy in practice sessions and an inspiration to many young cricketers today. He really enjoys the fielding sessions,’’ the newly appointed fielding coach says.