Sanath Kumar to coach Assam

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By IMTIAZ AHMED in Guwahati
  • Published 21.06.05

Guwahati, June 21: The Assam Cricket Association (ACA) has selected Bangalore-based former first class cricketer and BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) Level III coach K. Sanath Kumar as the successor to last year?s Ranji coach Dinesh Nanavati.

The ACA coach selection committee that met here on June 19, submitted its final recommendation favouring Kumar, ACA secretary Bikash Baruah said.

Baruah added that his appointment would be formalised after the governing body?s ratification. The body is likely to meet early next month.

?The committee scrutinised in detail the presentations of proposed strategies by Kumar and Goutam Shome of Calcutta to coach the Assam team and found the former more promising,? Baruah said.

The coach selection committee, comprising three veteran cricketers, was constituted by the ACA after its secretary was empowered by the governing body in Nagaon recently to finalise a coach.

Though Baruah did not reveal the names of the three members on the panel, it was later learnt that they were Bimal Bharali, Parimal Bhattacharjee and Naren Sabhapandit.

?The coach selection committee also recommended former first class cricketer Amal Das as the local coach for the Ranji squad. Though several other names were discussed, no one?s competency and career profile matched that of Das. However, his appointment (most likely as co-ordinator) will also be subject to the ratification of the governing body,? the secretary added.

Kumar, who played for Karnataka from 1985 to 1990, was the most qualified among the three applicants for the position.

Former international Gyanendra Pandey of Uttar Pradesh had also applied but he was not considered for want of experience. Pandey even offered to play for Assam.

The selection of the coach assumes great significance with Assam trying to regain its elite status.

Last season, it was relegated to the plate group, which however will not be easy to crack. Only two teams from this group will make the elite group.

Assam has seen three coaches in the past three seasons and this is regarded as one of the reasons for the team?s continued indifferent showing.

?We have adopted the BCCI format in selecting a coach, inviting applications from across the country because we were ? as the cricket fraternity in Assam like to describe ? deceived twice during the last two seasons. We did not seek anyone?s recommendation, nor did we entertain any kind of canvassing for any of the candidates and applied our own expertise to find out a coach,? Baruah said.

In his presentation, as sought by the ACA, Kumar said he would like to start interacting and working with the squad at least two months before the commencement of the national domestic season. ?The immediate priority is on practice, technique, fielding drills and fitness training,? he added.

He felt confidence-building among the state cricketers could be a key factor in building a strong and match-winning squad. Kumar suggested that confidence be built among the state players by removing their fear of being replaced by players from outside the state. ?Priority and preference will be given to the players domiciled in the state. There shall be less or no dependence on players from outside the state,? Kumar said.

A qualified state panel umpire, Kumar had toured Australia with a Karnataka state colts and vintages team in 1988 and 1990 along with G.R. Viswanath, Syed Kirmani, E.A.S. Prasanna, B.S. Chandrasekhar, Anil Kumble, Javagal Srinath and Venkatesh Prasad.

Currently a talent resource development officer in the Karnataka State Cricket Academy and coach of the Karnataka under-17 team, the right-hand batsman and right arm medium pacer took to coaching in 1990.

He has been training the Karnataka state under-15, under-17, under-19 and under-22 teams since 1992. He qualified as a BCCI level III coach with distinction in a test conducted by Frank Tyson and Darren Holder.

Among his important achievements as a coach are assisting erstwhile Indian coach John Wright during the preparatory camp for the Indian team in Bangalore in September 2003 for the tri- nation series involving Australia, New Zealand and India.

He also took up the coaching assignment for the Pahang state cricket team in Malaysia in 1994.