Karsan Ghavri: Saurashtra doesn't depend on one or two players, is about all eleven

The Saurashtra Cricket Association offered Karsan Ghavri the role of the head coach ahead of the season as Sitanshu Kotak took over as the India A coach.

Saurashtra coach Karsan Ghavri represented India between 1975-81.

Saurashtra coach Karsan Ghavri represented India between 1975-81.   -  Ashwin Achal

For the last few months, former India cricketer and Saurashtra head coach Karsan Ghavri has been quite particular about his routine — start the day early, head to the ground and spend as much time as possible with his boys.

At a time when most of his contemporaries are busy enjoying life after cricket, Ghavri, who turned 69 last week, has taken up a challenging job. But ask him and he'll admit that he’s loving it!

“It (the job) demands a lot. When I was offered the job, I was not hundred per cent ready,” Ghavri tells Sportstar.

The Saurashtra Cricket Association offered him the role ahead of the season as its long-time coach Sitanshu Kotak took over as the India A coach. “When the association offered me the role, I thought let’s take up the challenge,” Ghavri says with a smile.

Fondly known as ‘Kadu bhai’, Ghavri is the oldest coach in this edition of the Ranji Trophy, and despite the tiring schedule, he has enjoyed his stint thus far. “One good thing is, there are four-five day breaks in between Ranji Trophy games. Whenever we travel to places like Ongole, Indore or Vadodara -- an entire day goes in travelling,” Ghavri says.

The team had to travel to Ongole for its quarterfinal match against Andhra Pradesh. With no direct flights available from Rajkot, it took the side nearly 16 hours to reach the destination. The journey, too, was quite arduous -- a six-hour bus ride from Rajkot to Ahmedabad, then a flight to Chennai and finally, a long seven-hour bus ride to Ongole.

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“But thankfully, we had some gaps in between and after reaching there, there was time for rest. The recovery time was there. The guys are all charged up, so they recovered well…” Ghavri explains.

He has returned to coaching after nearly 13 years -- the last time he coached a Ranji Trophy side was in 2006, when he was the head coach of Tripura -- and admits that his role is to motivate and get the best out of his side.

“These guys do not require much of coaching. What you need is to give them confidence. As a team, they have gelled well and the players are contributing in every department. They know their roles well,” Ghavri explains.

“The bowlers have been doing really well, especially Jaydev Unadkat, and he is getting good support from Chetan Sakariya, Chirag Jani and Prerak Mankad. The composition of the team is really good and that’s how we have come so far,” Ghavri says.

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In the beginning of the season, Saurashtra was bolstered by the presence of its seasoned campaigner Cheteshwar Pujara. However, the India international had to fly to New Zealand for the Test series, in middle of the season. “When Pujara is there in the team, it’s an added advantage for the team. But we have been winning matches even in his absence. That’s the good thing about this team,” Ghavri says.

“Jaydev Unadkat did not play the match against Mumbai, but we won that. We have won matches without Sheldon Jackson. We don’t depend on just one or two players. It’s about 11 members,” Ghavri points out.

As the head of the unit, he makes sure to sit with his support staff and come up with plans. “We have team meetings, where we discuss about the opponents. We study them thoroughly and plan accordingly with captain and assistant coaches,” Ghavri says.

Saurashtra, with every player giving their all, has a strong chance of making its third Ranji Trophy final, and like everyone else in the team, even Ghavri is excited.

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