W.V. Raman is all set to return as coach of the Tamil Nadu cricket team. And Lakshmipathy Balaji is the front-runner for the post of the captain.
Interestingly, according to reliable sources from the TNCA, the State team will not have a bowling or a fielding coach this Ranji season.
Instead, the side will have a full-time assistant coach who will work under Raman.
If the need arises, a bowling or a fielding coach could be sent from the TNCA Academy for short durations to assist the team.
M. Sanjay is the leading contender for the job of the assistant coach. D.J. Gokulakrishnan is also in the fray. Sanjay was the fielding coach last season, while Gokulakrishnan oversaw the bowling department. Sridharan Sriram is expected to continue as the State ‘A’ team’s coach.
The 48-year Raman, a former India Test batsman, is said to have beaten back challenges from B. Arun and Robin Singh. Arun is doing a laudable job as the bowling coach of NCA’s bowling wing and there was a feeling that he must not be disturbed.
Robin Singh’s credentials are impressive but there was a belief that he was too busy with other coaching commitments; he is the coach of Mumbai Indians in the IPL and of Barbados in the Caribbean twenty20 league. Mumbai Indians, in particular, has camps at different times of the year.
The fact that Raman worked with several State cricketers from the current crop between 2006 and 2010 also appears to have worked in his favour. He does bring with him tactical sophistication and man-management skills.
Currently with the Bengal team, Raman is likely to get the nod from the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) for the shift to Tamil Nadu.
Then the TNCA Executive Committee has to approve his appointment; this should be a formality after the decision had already been made.
The chemistry between Raman and Balaji is excellent and the two should gel as a coach-captain combination.