W.V RAMAN tells T.SARAVANAN that it is important to think and react to a situation individuallyWell respected in the field of cricket, he is a class player with a penchant for big scores. He is elegance personified. He is Woorkeri Venkat Raman, an illustrious cricketer and coach of the Tamil Nadu cricket team.Quite prolific in domestic circuit, he announced his arrival on the international scene with a bang.He top scored with a stroke filled 83 against the potent West Indian bowling attack on his home ground in 1987-88. In a chequered international career he is remembered for his only international hundred against South Africa in a one-day international (ODI) at Centurion Park in 1992-93, incidentally the nation's first ODI win in South African soil.
Gentleman's gameParticipating in the sports day function of Thiagarajar College of Engineering, he shared some thoughts about present day cricket."With limited overs cricket upstaging conventional Test cricket, the modern trend requires the player to perform. The excess of one-dayers has also made the gentleman's game more spectator-oriented. But it has also witnessed a decline in bowling standards. It has created a negative mindset in the bowlers, as they are inclined more towards restricting the runs than taking wickets. But as a blessing in disguise the quality of fielding has improved tremendously. No one can deny the fact that Test cricket is the place, where one can shape his or her cricketing skills," Mr. Raman airs his views on whether flair has become a casualty in the face of professionalism and increasing number of ODIs.
Part and parcelOn players being plagued with injuries, he feels: "Injuries are part and parcel of any game and most unpredictable. The team is selected based on the fitness reports at the time of selection. The player should know his limitations and should not attempt to overdo. Attributing things to shorter span of time and tight schedule are lame excuses. One cannot have everything."Starting as a left-arm spinner, Raman continued as a handy bowler for the team apart from his batting exploits. He belongs to the clan of spinners who have taken wickets in their first over. Though he is concerned about lack of good bench strength in the department of left-arm spin, he is hopeful that the country will bounce back."There are talented young left-arm spinners in the circuit. Prayan Ojha from Hyderabad and K.P. Appanna from Karnataka, are emerging as bright prospects."He is very critical about throwing players on to the field at a young age. "Just because we have produced one Tendulkar, it is not prudent to push every young player too early into international cricket. Good example is Parthiv Patel. He made his debut in domestic circuit only after playing sizeable number of international games, which is bad.
Rare commoditiesPeople like Tendulkar are rare commodities. Such talents will announce themselves. It is a must to play domestic games, as it is a place where one can really hone his or her skills. At least three full seasons in domestic cricket is required to shape a good player. Take the Australian model, their mindset, method and process are different from others and they assess a player based on their domestic performances. Their results are there for everyone to see.""Spotting a player as captaincy material and grooming him from the young may workout for few. But here, in most of the junior-level cricket, the coaches double up as pseudo captains. More often than not these players who have the tag as captains look for directions from the pavilion, which is really bad. A player must be allowed to think individually and react to situations," he says. His experience of participating in a grade three level coaching programme in Australia, helped him immensely. As a coach he has seen the resurgence of Bengal in the domestic cricket. Now, as a Tamil Nadu coach he has a tough job on hand. "TN has always done well in the domestic circuit. Unfortunately, quite a lot of players have quit the game at the same time and it worked against us. But there are promising talents in our ranks and it is for sure that it will bounce back."On the country's prospects in this World Cup, he says: "No doubt, the nation banks too much on its batsmen. In spite of our batsmen performing well, we prefer to play with four bowlers. Definitely, India stands a good chance."As a clever motivator of men, he exudes plenty of optimism. Hope his words come true.