BCCI must start grooming players properly, says Yohannan

“With fame coming in, the grooming part has to be taken care of by the higher authorities,” Yohannan tells Sportstar, on the sidelines of TNPL players draft.

Former India speedster Tinu Yohannan (L) is the current coach of TNPL side Ruby Trichy Warriors. (file photo)   -  The Hindu

As Tinu Yohannan starts talking, it shows his shyness. The former India cricketer, who is now the coach of Ruby Trichy Warriors in the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) talks little. And even if he does, it is too soft to be heard!

He, however, refers to it as being humble—something that he was taught early in life. In his playing days, Yohannan has been considered one of the humble cricketers in the circuit, who would show not a single sign of arrogance even under pressure.

Yohannan agrees that things have changed over the years in Indian cricket. With more exposure and success coming their way, the cricketers often cross the line, courting unnecessary controversies. Ask the former cricketer, and he feels that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) or other authorities should look into players’ grooming part. “The game has become more professional these days. With fame coming in, the grooming part has to be taken care of by the higher authorities. Of course, it starts with the families, but it is important that the state bodies, the BCCI start grooming the players properly, not just cricket but improve their character as well,” Yohannan tells Sportstar on Friday, on the sidelines of TNPL players draft.

The 38-year-old, who debuted under the captaincy of Sourav Ganguly and has played with all the big names of Indian cricket, believes that for a team, it is important that the captain and coach are on the same page. “That’s a structure in the team. In any team, a captain and the coach always has the equal say. It matters a lot. There has to be a very good understanding between the two. They are the backbone of the team, and everyone else revolves around them. If the communication or the relationship between them is affected, then everything around it gets affected,” he says.

Coming from a sporting background (his father T.C. Yohannan was a former Asian long jump champion), Yohannan admits that these days, the cricketers can take chances because the game has provided them with a lot of securities. “The thinking has changed so much. The way they approach a game or the attitude they have before a game has changed so much. There never used to be so much tournaments earlier. There is so many opportunities now. The thinking has changed. There is always security in the game, and they can be fully devoted to the game,” he says, adding: “That’s a major change that has happened. If you are playing good cricket, even a job doesn’t matter these days. That is how it is now.”

While he considers himself fortunate to be a part of the TNPL, Yohannan admits that despite having immense talent Kerala cricketers struggle due to lack of exposure. “There has always been talent. Exposure is what Kerala needs. We need to change that to change the players mindset. Like in Tamil Nadu, the cricketers play big tournaments regularly. But in Kerala, players think that those things are beyond their reach. We are trying to develop the scene,” Yohannan says, drawing reference to the success story of Basil Thampi, who made it to the Indian Premier League (IPL) this year. “There is a lot of talent in the state. A little more self belief would do them good,” he adds.

In 2001, when he walked into the corridors of Indian cricket, it looked like a dream. But those days have taught Yohannan what it takes to perform at the highest level. And years later, as he walks down memory lane, Yohannan hopes more youngsters shrug off their blues and press for their dreams.

After all, there is nothing one can’t do!