NCA Project: Former Pacers Lakshmipathy Balaji, Ranganath Vinay, Pankaj Singh Do Internship Under Cooley

Bidding to create a pool of quality bowling coaches, the NCA recently had an internship programme where well-known names like Lakshmipathy Balaji, Ranganath Vinay Kumar and Pankaj Singh upgraded their coaching skills under Ashes-winning mentor Troy Cooley. Cooley has been the fast bowling coach of both Australia and England men’s teams at different times. NCA head VVS Laxman, who is preparing the road map for th country’s Gen-Next cricketers, has briefed the BCCI bosses on the need to have more quality bowling coaches and hence, some domestic doyens, who have also played for India, were seen earning their stripes under Cooley’s tutelage.

The sessions included current Level 2 coaches like CSK bowling coach Balaji, Vinay (MI scout), who is being touted as one of the most tactically sound among aspiring coaches along with Rajasthan legend Pankaj Singh, Mumbai’s Avishkar Salvi, Kerala state team head coach Tinu Yohanan and Karnataka seamer Srinath Aravind.

All six have played for India with Balaji also creating a name for himself before injury cut short his international career.

It is understood that the NCA wanted to handpick coaches who have had distinguished first-class careers, if not international, and are more adept to the changing facets of cricket coaching at elite level.

So what exactly is Cooley’s mantra of coaching? “His (Cooley) way of training coaches is very different from what we see in India. He believes that coaches shouldn’t tinker with natural strength of any bowler. If a bowler is more comfortable bowling only inswing let it be,” someone who closely watched the sessions told PTI.

But how does a coach also gets him to bowl an outswinger which doesn’t come naturally to him? “What I gathered from Cooley’s method is that he would ask the bowler to try and bowl the outswinger. Learning by doing rather than teaching him the technique.

“Suppose if he is able to take the ball away from the batter, then ask him what did he do? In coaching, the term “why” is very important. Each player must ask himself ‘why’ he is doing certain things and coaches must imbibe that habit in their wards,” the former first class player said.

In this quest for ‘why’, the player will realise that may be his wrist position isn’t right or his left shoulder (for right arm pacer) is opening up too much.

Once the player can identify that his wrist position or shoulder position isn’t perfect then the coach comes into play.

May be advice him to close his front shoulder, or may be change the semi-open landing into more side-on landing.

It’s the coaches who will ask questions and the student will have to answer, and that’s how you reach a solution.

“Cooley believes that solution always lies with the individual and a coach’s job is to help him discover that himself. Because those who strive to find answers on their own never forget that solution,” the aspiring coach added.

18-ball ‘Test’ for ’emerging’ camp bowlers While the Level 2 coaches doing internship under Cooley was one part of the module, the young coaches also got to watch how the Australian did SWOT analysis of the bowlers (mainly pacers), who were there as a part of NCA’s “emerging (19-23 years) camp”.

For all fast bowlers, Cooley set up three nets simultaneously in which they had to bowl six balls each.

“One net had a rope kept at 1 m from popping crease, which is the Yorker length. In the second net, two ropes were kept between 6-8 meters length which is area for bowling hard lengths.

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“The third net had a rope kept at 10 meters and it was about digging it in short. For spinners, there was only one net with a rope kept at around 4 metre length.” The idea was to find how consistently a youngster could hit one particular length whether it’s a yorker, good length or short ball, and accordingly create a database for each bowler and tell them what they have been able to do, what they are capable of doing and, last but not the least, what is expected of them.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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