Vikram Rathour: Opening p'ship in Tests, middle-order in ODIs areas of concern

India's new batting coach believes Shreyas Iyer and Manish Pandey need to be backed.

Vikram Rathour was appointed as the batting coach of the Indian team last month. Photo: Vivek Bendre

The opening batting slot in Tests and the underfiring middle-order in One-Day Internationals are areas of concern for the Indian team, according to Vikram Rathour, the new batting coach.

"The middle-order in one-day [cricket] is not doing well and we must, of course, sort it out. The other area of concern is the opening partnership in Tests. We have options and there is healthy competition. We need to find a way for them to be more consistent," Rathour told bcci.tv.

The first big challenge for Rathour, who was appointed last month, will be to equip the team to face the visiting South Africans for Twenty20s and Tests. The Twenty20 series begins on September 15.

Rathour felt Shreyas Iyer and Manish Pandey were talented batsmen and needed to be backed. "Shreyas has done well in the last couple of games and we also have Pandey. These two guys have done very well in domestic cricket and with India A. These are the batters who are capable of doing the job and I have no doubt about it in my mind. It is a matter of getting it right at the top level. We need to back them and provide them with the right preparations so that they can be there for a longer time. They have enough talent in them to do well."

'Great set of people'

Rathour stated he shared a good relationship with all the players in the current team. "We have a great set of people in the coaching staff. I have the advantage of knowing them as I was a national selector. I know the players and have worked with them at some point in time," he said.

"I have worked with Ravi Shastri, B. Arun and R. Sridhar and also Virat Kohli. I know the batters personally and share a good rapport with all of them. It is now about taking it to the next level," he added.

'Big responsibility'

Rathour stated he was prepared to deal with the pressure that came with the new role. "It's a big responsibility. I will be working with the [batsmen] and I will be there to provide any technical help they might need. I think there will be a lot of discussions," he said.

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"I will be trying to understand their mindset and understand the decisions they will be making when they are batting. I will try and replicate things as close to the real scenario and get them ready," he added.

"At this level, man-management is the key. How you support them, how you look after them in tough times has been my strength," he said.

'A good man-manager'

Rathour had been confident of his coaching abilities even during his playing days. "When I captained Punjab for close to six years, I realised I had it in me to be a coach. I was a good man-manager and during the last stage of my playing career, I was doing a lot of things that coaches normally do," he recalled.

Vikram Rathour says he shares a good rapport with Ravi Shastri (left), R. Sridhar (centre) and Bharat Arun. Photo: B. Jothi Ramalingam

"I retired in 2002 and moved to England for six years. I was clear I needed to take a break before taking up coaching. The break helped me come back with fresh ideas," he said.

Rathour has served as the head coach of Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. He has also been the Director of Cricket with Himachal Pradesh.

"I want to create an environment where players aren't scared of making mistakes, where mistakes are not looked down upon because they are learning opportunities. You can fail once in a while, but you must learn from your failures and get better," he said.