C. D. Thomson: A multi-faceted cricketing coach

Thomson topped levels A & B at the National Cricket Academy (NCA), Bengaluru, the BCCI's first batch of video analysts and the cricket coaching and physiology courses at the National Institute of Sports, Patiala. He chose coaching for a career, preferring people to technology.

C. D. Thomson's (in picture) coaching mantra is: ‘marriage of bio-mechanics, art and individualism to turn potential into performance.’   -  Special Arrangement

V. V. S. Laxman, Sandip Patil and M. S. K. Prasad have a common refrain when it comes to Charles David Thomson's credentials. “He's a committed, dedicated and sincere coach,” say the three, who did the country proud with their cricketing exploits.

'C.D.' (as he is popularly known) is the first sailor to captain Services in the Ranji Trophy. He was a good leader and managed his team well.

Says Laxman, “Thomson has done very well for the Andhra Cricket Association (ACA). Coaches like him require attention. He's very committed, giving off his very best to the cricketers. His knowledge is not limited to skills and technique but to a player's mental aspects as well.”

Thomson topped levels A & B at the National Cricket Academy (NCA), Bengaluru, the BCCI's first batch of video analysts, cricket coaching and physiology courses at the National Institute of Sports, Patiala. He chose coaching for a career, preferring people to technology.

“CD always got the best out of his boys. He played about 35 matches for Services for about a decade and even led it as a wicket-keeper batsman. After four years at the NCA, we appointed him as head coach of our North Zone Academy at Vizianagaram for boys under 19,” said Prasad.

“Quite accessible to his wards, he has shown depth in whatever subject he takes up. That he stays at Vizianagaram for most of the week, visiting his family in Visakhapatnam only over the weekend, reveals his dedication. After assembling a team at short notice, credit goes to him for Andhra's elevation from plate to elite category in the Ranji Trophy,” the former Indian stumper said.

Sunglasses not only shield his eyes but keep trainees guessing where Thomson's trained his sights, as he oversees morning and evening session nets at the Dr. PVG Raju Complex. Ably supported by Nirmal Kumar, a level B coach, Venkat Nagesh and Vikram Varma, he's a man of few words. So trainees listen when he speaks. Not just because they know he's serious but also aware there's wisdom in his words.

Thomson himself has an interesting take on his task. “A coach is like a street light that illuminates anyone coming in its glow, regardless of caste, creed or colour. The lamp sees contrasting scenes though. Some study under it, others idle, a few lean against it, while many simply pass by.”

Lalchand Rajput, Thomson's teacher at the NCA, said of his pupil, “He has done well and his qualifications speak for themselves. Firm in the belief that he can never be a master, he is always learning. He did wonderful work during the Mumbai Cricket Association's summer vacation nets for age-group boys.”

Unlike most cricketers and coaches, who know little beyond what experiences taught them, Thomson’s expertise commands respect. His treatise for instance on 'Choosing cricket gear' in a sports magazine is not just educative but exhaustive.

Appointed a BCCI faculty member to conduct level A courses for the Maharashtra Cricket Association, the Baroda Cricket Association and the Cricket Association of Bengal, his Assistant Coach role during the Under 19 World Cup preparatory camp at the NCA in 2010-11 saw his boys lift the coveted prize. So was he pivotal in charting the ACA's ambitious coaching programme and establishment of academies, unmatched by any association in the country.

Some of his wisdom is home-grown such as his dad's dictum to never let a situation sink to a crisis. It held him in good stead, when his forehead needed stitches from a bouncer during a Ranji match in Delhi. Back to the crease the same day to 'focus,' he realised his father was right when the 'distraction' faded away and he went on to notch up a half century.

As for his coaching mantra, it is the ‘marriage of bio-mechanics, art and individualism to turn potential into performance.’