Seeking success, Supergiant takes the Mahi way

Coach Vidyut Sivaramakrishnan keeps old team-mate Mahendra Singh Dhoni as the example to motivate his wards.

Madurai Supergiant captain Arun Karthik and coach Vidyut Sivaramakrishnan are confident about shrugging off last season's blues.   -  S. Prasanna Venkatesan

They have been team-mates in the past. The fast lanes of Indian Premier League (IPL) have taught Vidyut Sivaramakrishnan how to handle the challenges in the fast and furious format of the game.

And now, as the former Tamil Nadu cricketer starts his sojourn as the coach of Madurai Supergiant in the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL), Vidyut keeps Mahendra Singh Dhoni as the example to motivate his wards.

After finishing at the bottom of the table last season, the Supergiant has undergone a complete overhaul this time around by bringing in nine new players in its ranks.

But even then, the coach prefers maintaining the calmness ahead of the season opener. “As a coach, I have decided to keep it simple. We have the resources. The youngsters are bowling well, and they should not be taking pressure. That’s what I have told them, At this stage, Dhoni should be the example. You need to have that mindset when you can pick up 35 off 16 balls and be cool and tough. That’s how it should be,” Vidyut said on Wednesday, drawing reference to his former Chennai Super Kings captain. “It is difficult to do a Dhoni, but that’s how the thinking should be,” he added.

The former cricketer, who has also coached in the Karnataka Premier League, believes that the team has really good players who can change the course of the game.

“Adaptability is the key. It is not easy (for the first-division players) to get back into T20 mould. Top 5-6 are doing well, and the others should also step up. It would be interesting to see how it goes,” Vidyut said, adding that he has faith in all the 15 players.

“I have faith in all 15. Yes, two or three of them will stand up. There is our captain K. B. Arun Karthik. Even, S. Suresh Kumar is fantastic. It could be anybody. How they handle pressure and adapt to the conditions will be interesting to see,” he added.

As the coach exuded confidence, skipper Arun Karthik too was optimistic about  shrugging off last season’s blues. “Going back to last year, every team finishes last at some point of time. It happened to us. This time it is good. As a coach Vidyut is calm, composed and is extremely focused,” Karthik said.

Last year, the side had roped in Australian star Michael Bevan as its coach, but the association soured and the Aussie left the tournament mid-way. Though he didn’t express his displeasure directly, Karthik indicated that the dressing room was not calm last season.

“He (Vidyut) brings the calmness, something we lacked last year. We also lacked the experience. Vidyut comes with much experience, and he pushes the players to go that extra mile,” the skipper said, adding: “The atmosphere was tough last year. We have regrouped this time. The homework has been good and we have picked the required players from the player draft.”

With its first game scheduled for July 25 in Dindigul, the team still has got some time to prepare. While the coach believes that a bit more time would have helped, he is okay with whatever training he had with the youngsters.

“It would have been nice to get some more time. We got a lot of time with the second division and junior players. So, they could get used to the format. But then, we have a lot of experience in the side, and we are confident of doing well,” Vidyut said.

A lot was expected from the Madurai side when it began its campaign last year, but things fizzled out fast. This time, with a change in name and a complete overhaul in the side, the team management is looking to change the fortune. Even Karthik and Vidyut too would be hoping for a turnaround.

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