The coach knows best: How Janapareddy Krishna Rao spotted the talented KS Bharat

Krishna Rao, head coach of Andhra Cricket Association, has mentored over 30 Ranji, four IPL and 100 State-level players

Published: 14th November 2021 07:52 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th November 2021 07:52 AM   |  A+A-

Coach Janapareddy Krishna Rao with Kona Srikar Bharat, who has secured a spot in the Indian Test Squad against New Zealand, in Visakhapatnam (Photo | EPS)

Express News Service

VISAKHAPATNAM: A sixer in the last ball of the match by Kona Srikar Bharat, an upcoming cricket celebrity from Vizag, turned the odds in favour of Royal Challengers Bangalore against Delhi Capitals, in the recently concluded IPL in Dubai. This not only won him accolades but fetched him a berth in the Indian Test squad against New Zealand. 

Bharat will don the Indian jersey as a wicket-keeper batter soon. But the credit for spotting Bharat’s talent goes to 47-year-old Janapareddy Krishna Rao, who started grooming the cricketer when the latter was just eight years old at NAD Ground in 2001.Krishna Rao, the head coach of Andhra Cricket Association (ACA), has trained many under his watchful eyes. He also coaches ace cricketer Mithali Raj who visits him ahead of every tour, and Sneha Deepthi, also a member of the Women in Blue. In all, over 30 Ranji, four IPL and 100 State-level players were trained by him. 

Krishna Rao, who hails from Vizag, said he took up coaching in 2000 as he was advised to do so. He considers RVK Prasad as his first guru who initiated him into coaching. “RVK’s advice in initial stages made me withstand the tough situations in my 20 years career.”Krishna Rao said the guidance of VDCA secretary and former Test umpire Pardhasaradhi further helped him to grow and become a full-fledged coach.Born in 1974, he is the only level 3 BCCI coach in Andhra Pradesh, and has also done a level C course at the International Cricket Council. Krishna Rao has the distinction of being the only coach in the country who has completed 12 cricket coaching courses. 

Krishna Rao has held various key posts in his 20 years of coaching. He was the assistant coach of AP Ranji team from 2005-06, assistant bowling coach in National Cricket Academy from 2008 to 2012 and also bowling coach of the Andhra team in 2011.  “For the growth of cricket in the State there is a need for strong school, club and corporate leagues. There is a strong club culture in Mumbai, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and some other places. More international players are emerging at places with strong club culture,’’ he asserted.

MSK Prasad, former Indian chief selector, debuted in international cricket in 2000 and Y Venugopala Rao in 2005. It is nearly 16 years later that another player from the State will be making a debut in the national men’s team. “The ACA should focus on school, club and corporate league in the state for more representation in national teams of both men and women,’’ he added.

The academies should run as finishing schools, and train the cricketers’ mindset and professional behaviour, he felt. “In the 80s, it was just a game... Now, because of involvement of money, cricket has undergone a sea change. Right now, there is a coach for every department.”  Cricket evolved from five-day format to shorter versions, he said and added there may even be a 10 over format in the future.“Bharat’s agility on the ground was what pulled me to him... I had watched him  closely and felt he would be good behind the wickets due to his quick reflexes,” he added. 


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