Dubai: It will be a pair of southpaws looking to provide a turnaround in the fortunes of King’s XI Punjab when the Mohali-based team open their campaign in the IPL 6 this season. When captain-coach Adam Gilchrist is busy trying to lift the opposition bowlers out of the park, assistant coach Woorkeri Raman may be using his sharp cricketing brain to provide the right inputs from the dugout.
The former Indian opener, who has spent over a decade now in coaching state teams in India, is quite excited about what will be his first foray into the unpredictable, franchise-driven world of IPL.
“I felt that it will be an interesting experience, as well a challenge to work with a completely new bunch of guys and fellow professionals in an action-packed environment,” Raman told Gulf News on the eve of joining the team’s preparatory camp.
Like the IPL, the team co-owned by Bollywood actor Preity Zinta has had it’s share of ups and downs, with their best performance being a semi-final appearance in the inaugural edition in 2008. Asked about the team’s chances of bouncing back this season, Raman felt there is nothing like a good start to the campaign. “It is a very competitive tournament and anything can happen in a Twenty20 format. However, it becomes important to hit the straps at the right time and perform well collectively. Besides, it’s about gaining a headstart and carrying the momentum forward,” said Raman, who has played 11 Tests and 27 One-Day Internationals for India.
The King’s XI team looks a decent enough one on paper — while the batting strength revolves around the three Australians Gilchrist, Shaun Marsh and David Hussey, there is enough firepower lower down the order this season in the shape of Pakistan’s journeyman all-rounder Azhar Mahmoud or Dmitri Mascarenhas of England.
Asked about the wealth of all-rounders in the team, Raman said: “All-rounders are always of great help in this format as multi-dimensional cricketers are extremely useful.”
As a professional coach, who has moulded some big names in domestic cricket like Rohan Gavaskar, Deep Dasgupta, Subramaniam Badrinath, Murali Vijay or Ravichandran Ashwin during his stints with state teams like Tamil Nadu and Bengal, Raman is also regarded as very much his own person. When asked whether he will find it easy to survive in the IPL environment where owners have often been accused of interference, Raman chose to present a straight bat: “A coach has enough to do in terms of helping, motivating and mentoring the players to perform to their potential in IPL as well. As regards interference, I cannot comment as it will be my first season there,” he added.