V Venkatram at the JSCA office last week. (Bhola Prasad)
Seasoned off-spinner and former Bihar Ranji skipper V. Venkatram has been appointed coach of Jharkhand’s senior side.
The 58-year-old has replaced former India medium-pacer Subroto Banerjee who had recently informed the Jharkhand State Cricket Association (JSCA) about his unavailability.
This will be Venkatram’s second stint as mentor of the senior side. In 2004, he had groomed the Jharkhand Ranji team after completing his BCC-accredited Level III coaching course.
While the boys had reached Ranji semi-final under his guidance, current Team India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni had played as a member of the squad for two years.
Venkatram has also been the coach of National School of Cricket in Dehradun and was later appointed mentor of the Tripura Ranji outfit.
The highly experienced spinner had been with the Bangalore-based National Cricket Academy (NCA) on coaching assignments till last year.
He is of late busy at the Ranji conditioning and batting camp underway at the JSCA International Stadium Complex in Dhurwa, Ranchi.
Venkatram is also the chief coach of Jharkhand Cricket Academy, a private cradle that functions from Shahid Nirmal Mahto Stadium at Uliyan in Kadma, Jamshedpur.
State cricket association secretary Rajesh Verma confirmed Venkatram’s appointment as Ranji coach.
“Venkatram has been appointed mentor for two years. He is an experienced hand who has worked at the NCA. We are sure that he will guide our team to the best of his ability,” Verma said.
Expressing happiness over his new mission, Venkatram told The Telegraph over phone from Ranchi that he would do his best to lead the senior outfit to victories.
“I have been honoured with a great responsibility and would like to use my humble experience for the benefit of the team,” he said.
Sources in the JSCA revealed that there was a toss-up between him and Rajiv Kumar, also a former Bihar Ranji captain.
However, the scales tilted in favour of the former who was found to be more experienced.
Kumar has been re-appointed as coach of the state Under-19 outfit.
The JSCA will announce mentors for its Under-23 and Under-16 outfits at a later stage.