‘Strive to be an all-rounder in life’

CHENNAI, TAMIL NADU, 04/02/2015: Krishnamachari Srikkanth at an interview to The Hindu in Chennai on February 04, 2015.
Photo: V. Ganesan

CHENNAI, TAMIL NADU, 04/02/2015: Krishnamachari Srikkanth at an interview to The Hindu in Chennai on February 04, 2015. Photo: V. Ganesan   | Photo Credit: V. Ganesan

Krishnamachari Srikkanth discusses his passion for cricket, ambition for engineering, and balancing both during his time at college.

Krishnamachari Srikkanth, or Kris as he is commonly known, has had an illustrious career as a cricketer. One of the key members of the World Cup-winning Indian team in 1983, he had later served as India’s captain, coach, commentator, and cricket analyst.

Srikkanth is now primarily involved in the education space through his company AA Edutech, which is engaged in teaching mathematics, science, English and soft-skills to school children “through the language of cricket”. Not as well-known is the fact that before his cricketing journey began in earnest, Srikkanth was an engineer. Excerpts from an interview.

College and course

I studied electrical engineering at the College of Engineering, Guindy. I come from a typical south Indian background; so for my family, the focus was on studies. I always wanted to be an engineer; that was my primary ambition. Cricket was my passion from childhood, and later on, it became my profession. I did play for the Tamil Nadu state team while I was in college, but the focus was on studies; cricket was just for fun. I didn’t aspire to be a cricketer at that time.

Balancing college and cricket

I was very clear that I wouldn’t play cricket during exam time, and starting from one month before the semester exams. I ensured that I was at college as much as possible. Of course, I used to go on tours here and there. I was probably in my third year of engineering when I was appointed the captain of the all-India under-19 team. That was a turning point in my life.

In my third year, I played for the Ranji Trophy, in my fourth year I played for South Zone, and by the time I was in the final year of engineering, I was on the verge of playing for India. I still didn’t want to compromise my engineering education. In those days, cricket was not exactly a well-paying profession; so for me, it was still only a passion. My fourth year of engineering was when my family and I realised that I could have a chance at playing for the national team.

Applying engineering to cricket

I always believed that engineering helped me a lot and in many ways. My style of playing had a bit of science behind it. Engineering would help me decide when to (and when not to) take a calculated risk. But the most important thing it gave me was the confidence that if not cricket, I still had engineering. I always knew that I didn’t have to depend on cricket for my living.

Memorable moments

When I was playing for the Ranji Trophy, almost my entire class came to cheer for me at the Chepauk stadium. Greats like Srinivas Venkatraghavan and E.A.S. Prasanna too were playing that day. Venkatraghavan is also from my college; he was amazed by the kind of support I got from my class. Awed, he told me, “When I started playing, nobody from college came to cheer for me, but so many people are here for you!”

Some of my closest friends today are those I made in school and college. I never thought of myself as a celebrity. I knew that I could be dropped from the team at any time. I also knew that if something went wrong with cricket, engineering was always there as a fallback. What I am today is only because of cricket.

Advice to students

You need to have a definitive goal in life. Work with positive energy, passion, and most importantly, try and be an achiever. Everyone is an engineer today, given the framework of our education system. Getting marks isn’t an issue. But if you want to thrive in this competitive world, you need soft-skills and you need to work on personality development. You have to be an all-rounder in life.

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 12:17:31 PM |

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