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The coaches corner of IPL 2018


Coach_Cricket_IPLIPL has changed cricket in many ways. Every run scored/saved, every wicket taken, and every catch caught/dropped makes a huge impact on the outcome of the game and the possibility of qualification to the playoffs. As such a high standard of cricket is required to win the IPL title, franchises are providing the best coaches for their squad. Each team’s on field performance reflects their coach’s work behind the scenes. Now that IPL 2018 has ended, let’s take a look at the coaches of the IPL teams.

1. Chennai Super Kings

Coming back after 2 years, CSK retained their core players. They also retained head coach Stephen Fleming. Fleming has a long association with CSK, first as player and then as coach. Last season, he was coach of Rising Pune Supergiant when RPS ended as runners up. He is one of the most successful coaches in IPL history. Along with Fleming, CSK have Michael Hussey as batting coach, which explains their strong batting performance so far. Their bowling department features Eric Simmons as bowling consultant and local, ex-CSK player L. Balaji.

Having played for CSK before, the coaches knew what their team combination should be for IPL 2018. They took some key decisions, like including Shane Watson and opening with Ambati Rayudu, which have helped CSK. Now that they have clinched the title this season, appreciation must go to these coaches, who put in lots of effort behind the scenes.

2. Delhi Daredevils

DD have tried different coaches over a decade now. They have had very little success in the IPL. This season, DD appointed Ricky Ponting as their head coach. Ricky Ponting was one of the best captains in the modern era and had previously coached Mumbai Indians when they won their first IPL title in 2013.

DD appointed Pravin Amre, a highly rated coach in India’s domestic circuit, as batting coach. Amre has previously coached players like Robin Uthappa and Ajinkya Rahane. It was Amre who first recognized the talent in young Shreyas Iyer when he was the coach of the Mumbai Ranji Trophy team. Former Australia bowler James Hopes is their bowling coach with Sridharan Sriram as assistant bowling coach. Sriram has previously worked as spin bowling consultant for Australia. Former Assam player Subhadeep Ghosh is their fielding coach.

DD ticked all the boxes while appointing their coaching staff. The experienced Gautam Gambhir joined their think tank after handing over the captaincy to Shreyas Iyer. However, their fortunes have not turned around. DD was the first team to get out of the race to play offs. The only positive thing for Delhi is the Youngsters they have unearthed. DD has Prithvi Shaw, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant and Avesh Khan in their squad, which will definitely help them in the long run.

3. Kings XI Punjab

Kings XI Punjab have been flamboyant this season, just like their Director of Cricket Operations Virender Sehwag. Viru has continued with his attacking nature even while coaching. He has taken some key decisions for Kings XI right from the auctions. When Kings XI bought KL Rahul as first choice wicket keeper for Rs.11.5 Crores, experts thought it a dubious selection. But it turned out to be a masterstroke. Appointing Ashwin as captain, picking up young Mujeeb-Ur-Rehman and including Universe Boss Chris Gayle in the squad during the final moments of the auction greatly helped Kings XI Punjab.

They also have seasoned head coach Brad Hodge, who has years of successful coaching experience, including at Gujarat Lions. Mithun Manhas, a seasoned campaigner in domestic cricket, is looking after their batting while former India bowler Venkatesh Prasad is looking after their bowling. In this season Kings XI Punjab has got the right combination of players as well as coaches, and were unfortunate not to reach the playoffs.

4. Sunrisers Hyderabad

Sunrisers’ coaching staff has played a huge role in their success. Head coach Tom Moody has plenty of experience coaching many different teams. That the Sunrisers have the best bowling attack is no surprise as the Test cricket’s highest wicket taker Muttaiah Muralitharan is their bowling coach. VVS Laxman has been instrumental as mentor for the Sunrisers.

After David Warner was banned by BCCI, they not only lost a flamboyant batsman but also their captain. The coaches made the apt decision to appoint Kane Williamson as captain ahead of Dhawan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Williamson has been brilliant with his captaincy. Their coaches realised the importance of bowling in this batsman dominated T20 format. During the auctions they ensured that Sunrisers had a strong bowling line up and they have been the most consistent bowling side in this IPL.

5. Rajasthan Royals

Rajasthan Royals won the 1st edition of IPL. Shane Warne, then their captain, is back as team mentor. The Royals were known for not spending much on players in the auction. But this time the 2 highest bids went for Ben Stokes and Jaydev Unadkat by them. They suffered a huge blow as Steve Smith got banned just before IPL started. They finally found their momentum in the last few matches that they played.

They have the experienced Paddy Upton as head coach and otherwise have a Mumbai connection in this IPL season. Their captain (Rahane) is from Mumbai. With him are two former Mumbai Ranji Trophy players Amol Muzumdar and Sairaj Bahutule in the coaching staff. Former Rajasthan Royals wicket keeper Dishant Yagnik is their fielding coach. Opening with Jos Buttler and playing Jofra Archer ahead of Ben Laughlin were the positive changes they made. They didn’t perform as per expectations on return, but they did well enough to at least reach the eliminator.

6. Mumbai Indians

MI has got the most coaches of all IPL teams. Their “icon” Sachin Tendulkar has always been an inspiration and is the soul of the team, according to their owners. His experience and judgement about game is consummate. Mahela Jayawardene is their head coach. Jayawardene was successful as coach of MI in the previous edition of the IPL. Being a coach of the best team in the IPL is a double-edged sword. Along with prestige there is huge responsibility and pressure as the stakes are high. Robin Singh and Shane Bond have continued as batting and bowling coach respectively. There are 2 new additions in the MI coaching staff- Lasith Malinga as bowling consultant and James Pammet as fielding coach.

Despite all this, MI struggled in the 1st half of the tournament. As always, they made a strong comeback but it was not strong enough for them to qualify, as they finished 5th. With so many coaches observing the game from the dugout, they saw all the flaws in the team and the defending champions fought back really well, but a little too late.

7. Kolkata Knight Riders

KKR have kept it short and simple when it comes to their coaching staff. They have just 3 main coaches: a complete package in form of Jacques Kallis, the best all-rounder in the world in his time and part of the KKR setup for a long time. KKR’s 2 all-rounders, Narine and Russell, have flourished under his coaching. Simon Katich is the batting coach, with the experience of leading his home team, Perth Scorchers, to their first victory in BBL. Heath Streak is their bowling coach. Streak was previously with Gujarat Lions, where he was instrumental in discovering talented bowlers like Basil Thampi and Shivil Kaushik.

It was a new look KKR team in this year with Dinesh Karthik as captain. KKR have always looked a capable side but they lost some momentum midway through this season. They still had enough spark to finish third.

8. Royal Challengers Bangalore

On paper RCB has the strongest team this IPL season. However, they are generally lacking on the field. The star-studded team has 5 coaches. Daniel Vettori is their long-time head coach. RCB’s top 4 of de Kock, McCullum, Kohli, De Villiers was the best that any T20 team could get. On top of that, Gary Kirsten and Ashish Nehra are the batting and bowling coaches. Trent Woodhill is their fielding coach and Andrew McDonald is assistant bowling coach.

Quite often this season, RCB’s coaches have guided Virat Kohli, suggesting bowling and fielding changes. This has not helped the RCB as their bowlers leak runs heavily in the death overs. Their home ground, M Chinnaswamy stadium, is a small ground and known for big runs. That means if RCB’s batting fails they have no back up.

The coaches needed to find a way of executing the plans on the field. RCB has not performed collectively as a team. Unless Vettori and his coaching team find a solution, this will be the case in future editions as well.


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