Chennai

How the four Ts built cricketing careers

st. bede's foundation

st. bede's foundation  

St. Bede’s Sports Foundation may not have state-of-the-art facilities, but has coaches who lay stress on the right attitude

“Hey, look where your left foot is!” yelled the cricket coach.

The young trainee-cricketer’s response was, in cricketing terms, a stunning googly.

“Sorry sir, but just see where the ball is!”

That is a joke anyone who has associated with the St. Bede’s Sports Foundation would have heard. With this dose of humour, a particular philosophy of batting — which purists may scorn at — is being communicated. It’s “just get the bat to the ball and whack it around”.

At the Foundation, everything is geared towards teaching the essentials to the trainee. The teaching is not restricted to techniques; it includes encouraging the right temperament.

“Wild slogging will not get a player very far. Talent, training, temperament and toughness, which are referred to as four Ts, are required for a cricketer to succeed at any level,” says T.S. Mohan, while referring to this joke. T.S. Mohan is into cricket coaching for three decades and his association with the Foundation is just as long, if not longer.

The Foundation is known for laying stress on the four Ts.

“The Foundation does not have modern cricketing equipment such as bowling machines, indoor nets and a gymnasium. We have 15 nets with an abundance of open space. We are strict, but never stern. As a result, young trainees are disciplined and at the same time, know how to have a good time playing cricket,” says Murali, who trains children in the under-10 age group.

Core quartet

Along with Kubendran, the three CK brothers, Vijayakumar, Suresh and Venkatraman, constitute a quartet that has been at the core of the Foundation’s coaching success.

As cricket has become extremely competitive, we lay great store by fitness drills and fielding practice, besides bowling and batting, say Vijayakumar and Kubendran.

“Often, boys don’t get the basics right and they carry on with a faulty technique. They may succeed initially, but without getting the basics right, they cannot have continued success. At the Foundation, we believe in early intervention. Of course, there may be a few Bumrahs and Malingas with natural unorthodoxy, which we don’t interfere with,” say Suresh and Venkatraman.

Life-long lessons

“You see, my boy was regular at the nets and went through the drills as any other trainee would. He was good, but not good enough to make it to the higher echelons of the game. But I am least disappointed. On the contrary, I am happy that he has imbibed team spirit and discipline,” said a parent of a cricket-trainee, recently.

“Not many take it that way. Parental enthusiasm can often get out of hand and containing it is a task in itself. Not cricketers themselves, they want their kids to outperform others at every match. Some kids are quick learners. Some are late bloomers. Comparison is detrimental to the growth of any budding cricketer. We treat all trainees alike and provide equal opportunities for them to develop and perform. At the end of the day, if the trainees make the grade, represent the state and go further, we are happy,” — this is a sentiment shared by all the coaches.

R. I. Palani, who has been a key part of this facility until a few years ago, says sustained support and encouragement from the St. Bede’s school management has helped the centre grow to its current proportion.

“They have provided a golden opportunity for Bedians and other children in the neighbourhood to play the sport and succeed in it. There are many names from the Foundation that is known far and wide. They include R. Ashwin, Dhinesh Karthik, Abhinav Mukund, Murali Vijay, Kaushik Gandhi, Baba brothers, Aswin Crist and Suresh Lokeshwar.”

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 11:54:31 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/how-the-four-ts-built-cricketing-careers/article19883002.ece

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