Smriti a fine captain: Raman

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.

His newest job has presented him with a fresh challenge — coaching women. Last December, the former India opener took over as coach of the Women in Blue.

On the right track

“I have lots of hopes about this Indian team and it is moving on the right track,” Raman told The Hindu here after India’s T20 series against England.

“A team is a whole of many parts; we have got most parts right. Some things have to be fixed, but it will be done soon.”

Looking back at the twin 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 T20 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 also more multi-dimensional players.”

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 fewer 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 Indians — Smriti Mandhana and Jhulan Goswami.

“I think that is remarkable,” 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,” he said. “It would have been easy to be overawed by the occasion, but she wasn’t. She is a smart, thinking cricketer apart from being a brilliant batter.”

A fine sight

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,” Raman 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.”


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