Getting fundamental about fielding

R. Sridhar... the fielding coach of Kings XI Punjab.-

“Being with Kings XI is really exciting. The key, I feel, is to strike a chord with the foreign players and to understand them as quickly as possible, so that I can facilitate their improvement,” says R. Sridhar, the former Hyderabad Ranji Trophy player, who is now the Fielding Coach of the IPL team. By V. V. Subrahmanyam.

Ramakrishnan Sridhar may not be as familiar as the big-hitting Glen Maxwell or David Miller in the Kings XI Punjab team playing in IPL-7. But, this 43-year-old former Hyderabad Ranji left-arm spinner is doing his bit as the fielding coach to help the team’s cause.

“Well, from my experience in the NCA in the same role and having also been with the India under-19 winning team a couple of years ago, I am aware of my responsibilities and the challenges,” says Sridhar in an exclusive chat with Sportstar from the UAE.

“Being with Kings XI is really exciting. The key, I feel, is to strike a chord with the foreign players and to understand them as quickly as possible, so that I can facilitate their improvement. No doubt, I am enjoying every moment of his huge opportunity,” says Sridhar, who played Ranji Trophy between 1989 and 2001.

What are the major challenges that he has to face with this IPL franchise? “The owners have done a great job and put together a great team. The biggest challenge is to get the group of individuals to play as a team. And, I guess, fielding is one area where the team can really come together. I am relishing that challenge and hope to come good at it,” says Sridhar.

What makes the team so special? “We have quite a few match-winners in the team. You know the names! We have a very composed leader in George Bailey. He breathes a lot of sanity into the proceedings. He is very calm, which helps him make the appropriate decisions. Then, there is Viru’s (Virender Sehwag) experience which is a huge advantage,” explains Sridhar.

What is the secret behind the stunning initial success of the team in IPL7? “For a start, there is a lot of belief in this team. That belief, I would say, comes from the hard work put in by all the players and support staff in preparation,” points out Sridhar. “And, it is also setting in process some goals and focussing on how to achieve them,” adds Sridhar.

“We (support staff) work hard to provide a good atmosphere to the players. An atmosphere where there is no fear of failure and there is sense of relaxed discipline. In a way, we play the role of facilitators,” Sridhar says.

On the head coach and former India player Sanjay Bangar, Sridhar remarks: “Bangar is a very immaculate planner and he is a hands-on coach. He does his home work very well and gives an excellent feedback to the players.

“So, basically, the players are in good mental space and hope to write a new script in this IPL,” he adds.

“I am glad that my work ethics have always been the same. Whether I am with Hyderabad, NCA, India under-19 or KXIP, I try and make sure that all the players get what they want in terms of preparations and work on smart fielding,” points out Sridhar.

How different is it from being the India fielding coach at the NCA and doing the same job with KXIP? “The only difference I would say is that here in IPL the platform is bigger. There are many international players in the set-up. So, the style of communication changes a bit. As far as work is concerned, it is the same. We work on the fundamentals as much as possible because that is the core part,” Sridhar concludes.