Society

A coach’s fresh path

Cricketer Sunil Joshi who announced his retirement before the press conference in Bangalore. Phoro : K . Bhagya Prakash

Cricketer Sunil Joshi who announced his retirement before the press conference in Bangalore. Phoro : K . Bhagya Prakash  

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Sunil Joshi, who has taken over as coach of the Jammu and Kashmir cricket team, exudes confidence over his latest assignment. The former India and Karnataka spinner believes that J & K can grow as a squad considering the talent in its ranks

Jammu and Kashmir has been in the news for all kinds of reasons. Aesthetic? Think Haider, Vishal Bharadwaj’s evocative movie. Tragic? Shudder in shock over the snuffing off innocent lives inside a car shelled by the army. Euphoric?

Revel in J & K’s stunning two-wicket victory over Delhi in the recent Vijay Hazare Trophy limited overs tournament match at Bilaspur.

That last bit of news is a fabulous illustration of sport tiding over all kinds of crises that engulf the scenic northern State.

And while Parveez Rasool’s men exulted after shocking Delhi that had the likes of Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir, a man with Gadag roots and a home on the bustling Hosur Road, grinned inside the J & K dressing room.

Sunil Joshi couldn’t have asked for a better start to his latest coaching assignment. Having signed up with J & K after a round of parleys lasting over a month, the former India and Karnataka left-arm spinner has quietly got to work with his wards.

Serving as a guide does come naturally to Joshi, who as a veteran, assisted the juniors in the Karnataka team during his playing days.

Subsequently, he donned the coach’s mantle and helped Hyderabad cope with the pangs of transition over three years before the call from Srinagar made him shift his gaze beyond the Vindhyas. It did help that his cricketing inspiration Bishan Singh Bedi was also associated with the Kashmir squad in the past.

Speaking over phone, Joshi cannot mask the thrill in his voice.

“To be frank, I am over-excited. The Jammu and Kashmir team has lots of talent. Parveez Rasool is obviously a huge inspiration, having been a part of the India ‘A’ and senior teams. What I as a coach relish the most is the array of fast bowling talent available in this part of India. Genetically they are tall and strong and this helps them as fast bowlers,” Joshi said.

Elaborating upon the fast bowling arsenal at his disposal, Joshi lauded the pack. “They are extremely fit and bowlers like Samiullah Beigh and others can clock 140kmph.

“Against Delhi I told the fast bowlers not to worry about Sehwag and Gambhir’s reputations and just focus on their job. I am glad it paid off. It is good that besides fast bowlers, we do have some promising young batsmen,” the coach said.

Speaking about his own evolution as coach, Joshi summed up: “When I started with Hyderabad I was still young as a coach and it was excellent to have the support of the players there and it was also a blessing that someone like V.V.S. Laxman encouraged me. I matured as a coach with Hyderabad, got my insights into man-management. Basically as coach I spread whatever I learnt as a player over two decades and I try and help cricketers believe in themselves.”

J & K did remarkably well in the last season, securing a quarterfinal berth in the Ranji Trophy. Joshi believes that the present squad can take that legacy forward. “There is remarkable talent in this group; just that they need to play more. I am completely focussed on Jammu and Kashmir cricket and I want the team to do well this season,” he said.

What about coaching Karnataka?

“Right now it is just J & K for me. As for the future, there is time. I am also grateful to my employer Canara Bank, for being sports-friendly and granting me the needed leave when I go on my coaching assignments, without their support, I wouldn’t have been able to progress so far,” Joshi said while nursing the fond hope of Kashmir striking the right notes in cricket.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 5:46:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/society/a-coachs-fresh-path/article6580558.ece

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