W. V. Raman looks forward to his new role as assistant coach of Kings XI Punjab, his first association with an IPL franchise
W.V. Raman’s coaching resume, which includes stints with the Tamil Nadu and Bengal teams, is set to be splashed with the high-profile hue of the Indian Premier League (IPL) this season. Recently appointed as assistant coach of Kings XI Punjab, this will be Raman’s first association with an IPL franchise.
“It will be a new experience and a challenge to work with a new bunch of boys and professionals from different countries. It’s also an event that’s absolutely action-packed, so it should be very interesting,” the former Tamil Nadu and India batsman said in a recent conversation.
The presence of several talented youngsters in the Kings XI set-up, Raman said, was what prompted him to accept the offer. “There’s every possibility of the side doing well even though things haven’t gone their way in the last couple of years. That, by itself, was a very engaging feeling. This is one team that’s looking to go upwards.”
Collaborating with the likes of coach Darren Lehmann and Adam Gilchrist would be one of the perquisites that come with the job. “That’s the interesting fallout. They come from a different cricket culture and have played enormously well for a long time. There’s scope for a great exchange of knowledge.”
While Raman said there would be greater clarity about his role after meeting with the team, he believed his involvement in domestic cricket would prove handy. “I have watched a lot of these youngsters in first-class cricket. It’s not a situation where I am going to teach them the technical aspects. It’s more about pointing out how best they can measure up to the challenge within the framework of their game.”
Right on top of his to-do list would be channelling the players’ energy in the right direction. “The glitz and glamour part has reduced enormously so I don’t think that’s a worry. It’s easy for some youngsters to be influenced by seeing someone’s methods succeed and wanting to copy them. It’s important to live the moment and not be overawed by the occasion. My job will be to guide them and provide encouragement. As a team, you need to hit the straps at the right time.”
The 47-year-old sounded pleased with the youngsters in the group. “It’s crucial for the Indian contingent to perform well. This year, things look promising because Manpreet Gony (Grewal) has come back from injury and had a very good Ranji Trophy season. Mandeep Singh is a very good talent and (Paul) Valthaty will obviously get back to form.”
Raman concluded by saying he would approach his task without pre-set notions. “I would go in with an open mind, without any baggage, and remain flexible. That’s exactly the reason why the franchise would have wanted my services, to bring in a new dimension. What’s important is being part of a collective effort towards a common objective. It’s not about me setting goals for myself.”