BY AUGUSTO RODRIGUES
After cementing a place for women in cricket, by appointing one of the best batting coaches as consultant exclusively for them, Goa Cricket Association (GCA) Secretary, Rohan Gauns Desai, is giving a new impetus to cricket by doing new pitches and relaying the old ones, and leaving the onus of coaching youngsters on former Ranji Trophy players of repute.
“There has to be continuity to be able to see results, and that is why after hosting tournaments for age groups, it was decided to make new pitches conducive to cricket and relay the old ones so that all have a fair pitch to perform on,” mused Rohan as he kept an eye on the work of the new pitches being laid at the GCA Academy in Porvorim.
In the beginning, the GCA had laid five black soil pitches -- which are good for batting -- of which, two are being replaced with red soil, plus a new pitch of red and black soil is being done.
“Experts in the field are of the opinion that red soil wickets are sporting and that is one reason why we decided to go for a new red soil wicket,” averred Rohan whilst also disclosing that around Rs ten lakh was spent on procuring the soil for the wickets.
With the GCA hosting age group tournaments for the first time, the emphasis is now on zeroing in on talent available, and nurturing the same in the years ahead. And, the momentum can be seen in Porvorim with the academy ground turning into a beehive of activity with male and female players using the ground to practice.
“After hosting the age group A tournament, the next step was to have open selection trials in all age groups so that all players could get another chance to showcase their talents, and were assigned to the new coaches who were appointed,” observed Rohan as he dwelled on the topic of the way forward for players.
With coaches who were appointed last year being removed, “the emphasis is on coaches who are capable of nurturing talent, and that is why we have shortlisted former local Ranji players who did well to coach our age group teams,” disclosed Rohan.
After witnessing the enthusiasm in the one-day tournament organised for women, the GCA has decided to appoint a batting coach to bolster the skills of Goan players. “Hosting tournaments is one aspect, while spotting weaknesses and ways to overcome is another. And, that is why we have appointed Umesh Patwal as a batting consultant for women,” disclosed Rohan.
Umesh Patwal was a former coach of the Nepal cricket team and former batting coach of the Afghanistan cricket team. He was also the assistant coach of the IPL team Kochi Tuskers from Kerala.
The coaching staff of the Ranji team is going to have a new look with the GCA still in the processing mode. Swapnil Asnodkar is likely to retain his position as coach of the U-23 boys, and Robin D’Souza will take charge as head of U-16 and U-14 age group boys.
“Rohan has the data of all that the coaches have done in the past, and appointments are purely based on results. He was very clear about what was expected from us,” stated a coach who attended a meeting called for by the new GCA secretary recently.
“Success is possible when you have the whole team working together, and I think we are on the right track. I have received tremendous support from the entire executive committee and we believe our work will be reflected through the results,” opined Rohan as he candidly interacted with a few committee members in their offices.
“We are listening to clubs, to players and to the technical staff. Hopefully, the results will reflect the work that I am putting in,” countered Rohan, who was in the presence of vice president, Shamba Desai, and assistant secretary Rupesh Naik in the latter’s office.