Over the last decade and a half, W.V. Raman has coached quite a few teams. He has worked with Tamil Nadu, Bengal, India Under-19, Kolkata Knight Riders and the National Cricket Academy.
However, his newest job has presented him with a fresh challenge -- coaching India's women's cricket team. “I have lots of hopes about this Indian team and it is moving on the right track,” Raman told Sportstar here after India’s T20I series against England.
“A team is a whole of many parts; we have got most parts right. Some things have to be fixed yet, but it will be done soon.”
Looking back at the series against England, he said the team fought hard against a very strong England side. “It was great that we could win the ODI series in Mumbai,” he said. “One-day cricket is their forte. I think we did really well and got everything right.”
About the 3-0 whitewash in the T20I series, he said it was the lack of experience that let the team down. “We really should have won the final game, after playing so well,” he said.
“And we shouldn’t forget the fact that England had not just more experience, but more number of multi-dimensional players than us.”
How different did he find coaching women from men?
“By the time a male cricketer plays at the higher levels, he would have had at least four or five years of experience in competitive cricket, but his female counterpart has far less opportunities,” Raman pointed out. “So, I would have to bear that in mind while working with the girls.”
Still Indian women’s cricket boasts some exceptional talent. The ICC’s top-ranked batter and bowler at the moment are both Indians -- Smriti Mandhana and Jhulan Goswami.
“I think it is remarkable that the world's best batter and bowlers are both Indians,” Raman said. “It's amazing that Jhulan has achieved this feat at the age of 36 though she is a pacer.”
What did he think of Smriti Mandhana's maiden stint as captain in the England T20 series?
“I thought she did a great job”.
“It would have been easy to be overawed by that occasion, but she wasn't. She is a smart, thinking cricketer apart from being a brilliant batter,” Raman said.
Does her batting remind him of Sourav Ganguly a bit?
“It does a lot, as a matter of fact, though I am not usually fond of comparisons,” the coach said. “Her strokes on the off-side, her timing and the way she caresses the ball make you think of Ganguly. When she is in full flow, you could watch her bat all day.”