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
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.
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.