Shashikanth and Anil Kumar to coach Ranji team

P.V. Shashikanth and G.K. Anil Kumar replcaed the duo of J. Arunkumar and Mansur Ali Khan.

P. V. Shashikanth (above) and Anil Kumar were in charge of the State U-23 team and led the side from the Plate to the Elite division in the Col. C.K. Nayudu Trophy with a third-place finish in February.   -  Sudhakara Jain

P.V. Shashikanth and G.K. Anil Kumar were on Wednesday appointed as coaches of the Karnataka Ranji Trophy team, replacing the duo of J. Arunkumar and Mansur Ali Khan.

Shashikanth and Anil Kumar were in charge of the State U-23 team and led the side from the Plate to the Elite division in the Col. C.K. Nayudu Trophy with a third-place finish in February.

The two — with Anil Kumar to be the assistant coach — have been appointed for one season.

“It’s a great privilege and honour. I have the same feeling I had when I was made captain of Karnataka in 1996,” said Shashikanth, who played 51 first-class matches over almost a decade before taking up coaching.

“I feel this could be a reward for doing well with the U-23s. I know most of the boys well. Ultimately, we want to take Karnataka back to the glory of winning the Ranji Trophy.”

The news took Arunkumar, currently working with Kings XI Punjab in the IPL, by surprise. He had had no discussions with the KSCA nor received any prior notice, he said. “It’s been a good five years. I suppose they had to find a replacement. In all fairness, given the winless two years we’ve had, someone else had to get a chance.

“It’s left to others to take Karnataka cricket to great heights. I feel we left it on autopilot. I’m still interested in coaching a state team. It’s either that or maybe I can keep on being a T20 coach.”

KSCA spokesperson Vinay Mruthyunjaya said a message had been sent to the incumbent coaches after the decision was taken on Wednesday evening.

“We have brought in a change. We have elevated Shashikanth and Anil Kumar,” he said.

Arunkumar and Mansur had been appointed in July 2012. The pair helped Karnataka achieve the domestic treble (Ranji Trophy, Irani Cup, Vijay Hazare Trophy) in successive seasons.

“The KSCA also acknowledges the contribution of J. Arunkumar and Mansur Ali Khan for their stint as coaches of the senior state team for the last five seasons. The decision to nominate G.K. Anil Kumar and P.V. Shashikanth was unanimous decision of the managing committee,” a press release from the KSCA said.