By Anupam Soni
IN MOST spheres of life, strategy plays an important role. With proper planning and vision, an individual or a unit can achieve greater heights.
Vidarbha Cricket Association’s young President Adwait Manohar, a former First-Class cricketer himself, believes that with proper strategy in place, Vidarbha women can make a mark much sooner than later in domestic cricket.
“There is more scope to flourish in women’s cricket. With proper strategy, Vidarbha women can rise early in domestic cricket. We have handed over the reins of senior women to the very experienced Preetam Gandhe. Apart from having experience of coaching Manipur and Mizoram women, a BCCI’s Level 1 Coach Gandhe is a brilliant strategist. Our women players are very skilled in their art. If they can improve on their strength and conditioning and play according to a strategy, I am sure Vidarbha women will do well at the domestic level. It is not that easy in men’s cricket (comparatively),” said Manohar while unfolding his plans during an interaction with ‘The Hitavada’ on Tuesday.
“No doubt, they will have to refine their skills in all aspects of the sport but being under Gandhe’s guidance will help them prepare better. I am expecting Gandhe to come out with flying colours. VCA is ready to give everything to its players and in return we are expecting just sincere dedication and efforts from them.
“We have appointed former India seamer Sanjeev Sharma as men’s coach and on the same lines, we are in search for a full time Under-19 women’s professional coach. We have had interviews recently but since we have not zeroed in on anybody. The post will be of pure technical coach. I want the girls to be trained well so that when they graduate into the senior squad, they are much better prepared. A feeder line is a must,” stated Manohar adding, “We have also conducted interviews for trainers for women’s cricket. They will be working on every single individual improving her strength and conditioning so that they are fit enough for 2-3 games in a row.”
These days, sport is not related to physical activity only. It is also played in mind.
“Apart from being physically healthy, the players must also be mentally strong. After strength and conditioning, and refining of skills, there comes the mental aspect. I want to eliminate the feeling ‘that we cannot win’ from minds of the players. I am in search of a good mental trainer and I will bring one in VCA’s fold soon,” promised Manohar.
There are not many grounds across the globe that are reserved for women’s cricket only. In its pursuit of taking Vidarbha women to newer heights, the VCA has come up with a cricket ground exclusively for women.
“We have come with a very good ground at LAD College, Seminary Hills and that is exclusively for women. I am not very sure but as per my knowledge, there is no ground anywhere in India dedicated only for women’s cricket,” said Manohar with a sense of pride and satisfaction.
VCA is not behind in utilising the experience of its former players.
“We have roped in services of Amit Deshpande and Azhar Sheikh as coaches for girls in the Under-16 and U-14 age groups respectively. Both have undergone training from Satish Chimote who has been a coaches’ coach at the National Cricket Academy,” informed Manohar.
The other area which the young president wants to improve is in white ball cricket for men. VCA conducted its maiden inter-district T20 tourney a few months back and Manohar is happy with the outcome. “We have got 2-3 very talented players from the pool of over 150 that participated in the inter-district meet. The event would have been a successful one even if we had got just one. But we will have to assess their performance further. They played among themselves. Our main players were not involved in that tourney,” said Manohar on the finds of the event.
Talk of white-ball cricket cannot be complete without the mention of Vidarbha batter-stumper Jitesh Sharma who excelled in the 15th edition of the IPL plying his trade for Punjab kings.
“Jitesh is a sincere and hard working cricketer. He did we very well in the IPL. But the problem is that at present at least five wicketkeepers are playing far India — Rishabh Pant, Dinesh Karthik Sanju Samson, Ishan Kishan and KS Bharat (in Tests). This makes life difficult for him. but I have advised him not to lose focus. I urged him to repeat his show to make sure that he remains in the core group of the team,” Manohar signed off.