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A field day

Far away from the media glare, it is the support staff which continues to play a key role in shaping the destiny of the teams competing in the World Cup. In Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led Indian team that is on a song, there is a Hyderabadi who is playing his bit in the team’s fortunes – the 43-year-old Sridhar Ramakrishnan, former Hyderabad left-arm spinner and now the fielding coach of the Indian team.

A member of the core panel of support staff headed by Duncan Fletcher and including Sanjay Bangar (batting coach), Bharat Arun (bowling coach) with the domineering personality of Ravi Shastri as Director of Cricket, Sridhar seems to be quite content to don his role without any hype.

Interestingly, another Hyderabadi and former India off-spinner Arshad Ayub is the manager of the current team too.

Sridhar's promotion to the Indian squad after playing a similar role with the India under-19 team in 2013 when Unmukt Chand's team won the World Cup in Australia and a highly successful stint with the high-profile Kings XI Punjab was not a major surprise given his commitment and passion for his job.

Significantly, Sridhar, who quit State Bank of Hyderabad job to move over to Bengaluru to join the National Cricket Academy, was also involved in the preparatory camp for the Indian team before the 2011 World Cup which it won at home.

And, the way India have performed admirably on the field – not just with the bat and ball — a lot of credit goes to Sridhar as the acrobatic saves and some brilliant catches are the end-result of all the efforts he has been putting in the nets to fine-tune the fielding skills of the Indian players. No doubt, Sridhar is clearly banking on the 15-member support staff this India team has, incidentally the biggest such contingent for any World Cup team Down Under.

For someone who always got a raw deal from the Hyderabad Cricket Association back home, which ignored his overtures to serve the game , this is a dream assignment which many would have loved to take up. Having played for Hyderabad between 1989-2001 in Ranji, Sridhar knows what exactly it means to be a performing cricketer.

Sridhar drifted into field of coaching thanks to his stint at the St. John's Cricket Foundation run by incumbent HCA Secretary K John Manoj. He simply loves challenges and his stint with the Indian team on England tour last year was the first major tryst with stardom too. “The best part is that the Indian team always has long training sessions at the Bengaluru National Cricket Academy. So, I know what they look for,” was his contention.

So, there is an unmistakable, indelible impression of a Hyderabadi, though no player from the city made it to the squad, in Dhoni-led Indian team’s campaign in the 2015 World Cup!


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Printable version | Sep 25, 2021 3:32:31 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/sridhar-ramakrishna-interview/article7032227.ece

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