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A coach remembers

K.C. VIJAYA KUMAR
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Raghunath Beerala found a few parallels between the team he guided and the current group

Just as Karnataka’s R. Vinay Kumar held aloft the Ranji Trophy in Hyderabad a fortnight ago, an affable former cricketer turned nostalgic in Bangalore. Raghunath Beerala is a familiar figure at the Chinnaswamy Stadium and he has donned multiple roles with aplomb for the State.

Raghunath was also a coach with the golden touch and under his guidance, Karnataka won the Ranji Trophy in the 1997-98 and 1998-99 seasons. The title was wrested again after a 15-year gap and the former coach found a few parallels between the team he guided and the current group that owes its allegiance to coaches J. Arun Kumar and Mansur Ali Khan.

Delving into his memories, Raghunath, who has stayed in touch with the game through his match-referee assignments, says: “They seem to be a happy bunch just like how the team was when I was the coach. The present coaches Arun Kumar (batting) and Mansur Ali Khan (bowling) were then players under me and I am proud of what they have achieved. Arun was unfortunate to have missed out on playing for India and MAK was such a sincere bowler, who never got tired. They were key players in my teams then and I wish Arun had played for India and that Dodda Ganesh and David Johnson had played more for India."

But what about that old tale of Arun carrying snakes in his kitbag? Raghu laughs and says: “Yes, it is true and when he came into the team I was scared and he assured me that he had given up on those snakes!”

Jokes aside, Arun and Mansur have grown in stature and their former coach hopes that they will scale greater glory. “I wish Arun and MAK get bigger coaching assignments and I hope the current Karnataka squad wins more Ranji titles. They do have the talent,” Raghunath says.

K.C. VIJAYA KUMAR

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