J Arunkumar named USA head coach

The USA Cricket announced Arunkumar as its head coach and said he'll be permanently based in the United States as and when his working visa has been obtained.

File photo: Former Karnataka cricketer J. Arunkumar takes over as USA head coach   -  K. MURALI KUMAR

Former Karnataka cricketer, J. Arunkumar has been appointed the head coach of the USA national team.

In the early hours of Tuesday, the USA Cricket formally announced that Arunkumar, or ‘Jak’ -- as he is known in the cricketing circuit -- will be taking up the role and will ‘be permanently based in the United States as and when his working visa has been obtained.’

One of the most successful coaches of Karnataka, Arunkumar had guided the team to back-to-back domestic trebles -- Ranji Trophy, Vijay Hazare Trophy and the Irani Cup -- for two years in succession, in 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons. The 45-year-old also worked as the batting coach for Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League.

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Speaking to Sportstar from Bengaluru, Arunkumar said: "It's a prestigious role to start with. It's a good challenge for me because I have done a lot of domestic and IPL assignments, but this will be my first international role. As a coach, you need to check on your abilities also and you don't want to spend all your life coaching domestic sides."

Once the situation improves, Arunkumar and his family will be shifting to the US for two years. However, he has already started working with the players via online mediums."Now due to the COVID-19, we cannot actively play cricket. I have got in touch with all the players, including the probables. Fitness training programme is going on," the seasoned coach said.

"At this point, we can work on the mental side of things and also analyse a few situations with batsmen, bowlers. We have a system called AMS and also having Zoom chats. Some of them have training facilities, so they are sending videos and we are working on those areas. It's a good time to connect with everyone," Arunkumar said.

Last year, he was appointed as the head coach of Puducherry, however, he quit the job in the middle of the season owing to differences with the officials of Cricket Association of Puducherry.

However, this will be the first international assignment for Arunkumar. He travelled to the USA to meet support staff, selectors and players at the talent camp in Houston last month. “I am delighted to say that we have subsequently reached agreement with ‘Jak’ that he will take up the role and be permanently based in the United States as and when his working visa has been obtained,” USA Cricket CEO, Iain Higgins, said.

“Of course, the COVID-19 crisis has now presented some challenges around the scope of the role in the short/medium term, but we look forward to completing all of the arrangements and to welcoming him more formally in due course,” the CEO stated.

In the past, former India wicketkeeper-batsman, Kiran More, worked with the USA outfit for a brief period and now, it will be a new challenge for one of country’s top domestic coaches.

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