Coach­ing Pun­jab’s colts, Ricky finds the right mix

In first PCA as­sign­ment, former Pun­jab opener pre­par­ing state’s un­der-16 team for zonal leg of Vi­noo Mankad Tro­phy

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - Live - - SPORT/CITY - Kuldeep Pan­war chd­sports­[email protected]­dus­tan­times.com

CHANDIGARH: Med­i­cal prob­lems forced Ravneet Ricky to re­tire as a player two years ago. But the former Pun­jab crick­eter has al­ways been game for new chal­lenges. Ricky has now been handed the re­spon­si­bil­ity of pre­par­ing the Pun­jab un­der16 boys’ team for the Vi­noo Mankad Tro­phy, his first as­sign­ment as a coach with Pun­jab Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion (PCA).

The north zone round of the tour­na­ment gets un­der­way from De­cem­ber 7, with Pun­jab fac­ing Haryana in the opener.

But does the fact that the team failed to cross the league stage last time add to the chal­lenge of the new job? “I am least con­cerned about the past, and am look­ing for­ward to mak­ing a new be­gin­ning with the boys. No doubt, our main aim will be to qual­ify for the knock­out stage, and for that we are fo­cussing on tak­ing it one match at a time,” said the 32-year-old coach, on the side­lines of a prac­tise match be­tween Pun­jab U-16 and the Sec­tor-16 Cricket Academy teams on Wed­nes­day.

A veteran of 72 first class matches who had to re­tire af­ter a se­ri­ous ail­ment ham­pered his vi­sion, Ricky is bank­ing on the right mix of bat­ting and bowl­ing op­tions in the team. And his faith was some­what jus­ti­fied when the Pun­jab colts de­feated the academy out­fit that com­prised un­der-16 and even un­der-19 play­ers.

“Our bats­men were among the lead­ing run-get­ters in this year’s in­ter-district tour­na­ment. Among them, Vi­neet Dhaka and Shub­ham Chand have played 2011 Vi­noo Mankad Tro­phy. The spin de­part­ment car­ries va­ri­ety due to the pres­ence of a leg­gie, an off-spin­ner and a left-armer. There is also an all-rounder in the side,” he listed out.

Ricky ac­knowl­edged that work­ing with bud­ding play­ers could be a bit tricky, given that their un­der­stand­ing of the game is dif­fer­ent as com­pared to crick­eters in higher age groups.

“Work­ing with younger play­ers needs you to start fresh ev­ery­day,” he said.

“The fo­cus re­mains on help­ing them pol­ish the ba­sics of the game as they have just started to face the rigours. The key to work­ing with th­ese up­com­ing play­ers lies in in­still­ing a pos­i­tive at­ti­tude in them and not cre­at­ing un­nec­es­sary pres­sure,” he added.

“That said, I be­lieve my boys have a lot of ma­tu­rity and will do well in the forth­com­ing tour­na­ment. The ar­eas I am cur­rently work­ing on with them is field­ing and run­ning be­tween the wick­ets.” Pun­jab U-16 squad: San­veer Singh (cap­tain), Sahil Chan­der, Mansab Gill, Payal Sharma, Vi­neet Dhaka, Lak­shay Rakra, Pradeep Ya­dav (wick­et­keeper), Shub­ham Chand, San­deep Badoni, Re­shan Sharma, Kul­jeet Ko­har, Harmeek Singh, Jaswinder Saini, Ab­hishek Sharma.

GUR­PREET SINGH/HT

Pun­jab un­der-16 coach Ravneet Ricky with the squad dur­ing their camp for Vi­noo Mankad Tro­phy at the Sec­tor-16 Cricket Sta­dium in Chandi­garh on Wed­nes­day.

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