Raman: ‘In sport, there is no hierarchy of seniors or juniors’

Newly-appointed India women’s cricket team coach W.V. Raman will look to start afresh after the Mithali Raj-Ramesh Powar spat that left a bitter taste.

Raman's first assignment begins later this month, when India tours New Zealand.   -  Special Arrangement

 

The head coach of India’s women’s cricket team, W.V. Raman, plans to take fresh guard in charge. His first assignment begins later this month, when India tours New Zealand. The seasoned coach believes this team has the potential to be a force to reckon with.

In an interview with Sportstar, Raman speaks on the road ahead.

What are your immediate targets?

It is to encourage them to play the same way they have played in the last 18 months. They have played with a lot of panache and displayed tremendous skills. They have shown that they are formidable and can beat anybody when they are at their best.

The team went through quite a lot of controversies recently. Are there issues you would like to fix right away?

Others who are not a part of whatever you are talking about (the controversies) are not letting go of it. So, as far I see, it is a one-off thing which happened and I don’t think there is anything to be gained harping on it, or being fixated on it. It is akin to a run out, where there was a little bit of misunderstanding. That’s all over and done with. In sport and in life, you move on.

Over the last few weeks, the team appeared divided on whether to focus on youth or experience. What will your strategy or road map be?

It is a team game and they will be encouraged, motivated and guided to play as a team. There is no such thing as seniors or juniors, which I have maintained in all these years as a coach. It is a unit of 14-15 cricketers playing as a team for their country. It is as simple as that.

Are you saying that a youngster will get as much importance as Mithali Raj or Harmanpreet Kaur?

I would emphasise on the fact that each of them belongs here. That is why they have been picked. In sport, there is no hierarchy of seniors or juniors. It is a case of experienced cricketers and inexperienced cricketers. The important thing is for them to get together, work together and play together as a team.

Recently, India’s men’s team head coach, Ravi Shastri, said there is nothing called junior or senior in the team. Will we see something similar with the women’s team as well?

I am not surprised that Ravi said so. His mindset was the same when he was a captain and when he was a senior member of the Indian team.

You have handled junior national teams, state teams, IPL franchises. Will handling a women’s team be any different?

The common denominator is the game. There is not much of a difference in who plays it, as far as cricket is concerned or as far as the tactics and techniques are concerned. But yes, it is a paradigm shift for me in a way because I have been part of a different segment of the game. This is a new segment and I will probably take some time to see the dynamics involved in women’s cricket. There should not be a major problem.

For the last few years, Indian women cricketers have sought a regular mental fitness coach, but no one has been appointed yet. Do you think it is important to have one?

I would not even want to venture into what happened in the past and what was asked in the past. I would like to go in, take a fresh stance and take stock of things and see what needs to be done. Then, I will speak to the authorities concerned.

In your two-year term, what do you plan to achieve with the team?

There is a lot of work to be done in terms of skill development, in terms of (planning) programmes for enhancing physical fitness. Besides, it is critical to provide more experience to these girls by making them play more matches. This will help them overcome whatever little issues they may have.

If there’s one thing you would like to keep/change in the women’s cricket set-up, what would it be?

It’s like you asking me that if you go to New York, will you go to the Macy’s first or will you go to Times Square? I haven’t reached New York yet. Let me go there and figure it out (laughs).

Two years down the line, where do you want to see the side?

I want to see them become a team that everybody would vie to beat. This team has the ability and potential to be the best in the business. Hopefully, Indian women’s team will go on to become the No.1 in the ICC rankings and stay there for long in the future.

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