Hrishikesh Kanitkar is not a man of many words. But then, when he speaks he talks sense.
The former India cricketer was at the helm as coach as Tamil Nadu made the Ranji Trophy semifinal last season and triumphed in the Vijay Hazare and Deodhar Trophy one-day tournaments.
Kanitkar, who is here to take part in the selection process for the State side ahead of a fresh season, shared his thoughts with Sportstar on Wednesday. “We have to continue with the process. That is what we did last season, that is what we plan to do this season too. If we keep getting better at what we do, the results will come. But if we look at results alone without giving importance to the process, we might not get what we seek,” Kanitkar said.
He does not believe in setting goals. Kanitkar compartmentalises the team, looks into the different arms of the team, and ensures that they move in cohesion. Once that happens, the results will come. “We need to control the controllable,” he said.
One of the major accomplishments for Kanitkar last season was to bring about a sense of togetherness in the team. “There is good rapport between the seniors and the juniors in the side. The harmony is there, the boys have been responsive to suggestions,” he said.
This Ranji season will see the home and away format returning; all matches last season were played on neutral venues. Would this move enable the spinners to play a bigger part for the side? The pacemen donned a huge role for Tamil Nadu on seaming pitches in the northern parts of the country last season.
Kanitkar replied, “That would depend on our reading of the opposition and the kind of pitch we want. I think we have a good pace attack and it will continue to play a prominent role. We have some promising spinners as well.”
On Tamil Nadu’s group in the Ranji Trophy this season – the side shares space with Mumbai, Baroda, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Andhra and Tripura – Kanitkar said, “It is an interesting group. It is also a tough group. Of course, Mumbai is there.”
One of the reasons for Tamil Nadu’s resurgence in domestic cricket last season was the unity and the single-mindedness of the coaching and support staff. Kanitkar shares an excellent rapport with bowling coach L. Balaji. “We are both process-oriented coaches,” he said.
Ask Kanitkar on his mantra for the next season and he responds with a smile – “Work harder.”
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