Once touted as the next big thing, Tinu Yohannan sets out to help Kerala fast bowlers in Covid-19 world
Written by Arun Rawal
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Updated: June 6, 2020 12:46:25 am


Former India fast bowler Tinu Yohannan (Express Archive)

Like most fast bowlers round the world, Tinu Yohannan’s high concern now could be on how cricket will change after the Covid-19 pandemic due to the ban on utilizing saliva to shine balls. But Yohannan’s issues aren’t merely speculative. In the upcoming home season, the ‘local boy’ will play bowling coach to the Kerala State Cricket staff.

It is a novel problem and one the 41-year-old is eager to not threat downplaying.

In a candid chat with indianexpress.com, the man with considered one of the most celebrated debuts in Indian cricket talked about guiding the Kerala fast bowling quartet by way of demanding guidelines, his ouster from the Indian squad and the unusual twist of fortune that led to his stint with Royal Challengers Bangalore being minimize quick..

The saliva ban, in fact, is a nagging fear. Yohannan feels it’s the Test format that can take the worst hit for this and advocates the use of a substance that can help bowlers shine the ball.

“It’s an interesting thing (the ban)…a one-of-a-kind situation as no one has experienced this. Shining the ball is a very important factor when it comes to bowling, be it a spin bowler or a fast bowler, the shine is vital. They are speaking about saliva but sweat won’t be allowed as well. In limited overs, it doesn’t matter much compared to Test cricket. With the white ball even without shine, it won’t make a big difference. But with the red ball without the shine, it’s going to be difficult. One thing that organisers can do is to allow usage of some permitted substance to maintain the shine like vaseline or anything else.”

The Kollam-born cricketer additionally had an attention-grabbing perception when it got here to bowler’s routine and the way will probably be onerous for them to keep away from utilizing saliva or sweat.

“For a bowler who has been conditioned over the years to use saliva or sweat, it’s difficult to change that habit. To most of the bowlers, it comes subconsciously. It’s a part of a routine. If a bowler does that, it should not be considered a very serious offence. The habit will only slowly go away. Getting it back will also be a process (after Covid-19).”

Spin legend Anil Kumble’s latest recommendation on making pitches spinner-friendly not simply in the sub-continent however abroad too, to get spinners again in the sport and even out the contest between bat and ball, has made an impression on Yohannan. However, he provides that situations ought to be beneficial to everybody.

“When a person like Anil Kumble says this then it has to have some substance. At some point in a Test match, maybe after the third day, the spinners should come into play. Today, the scenario is such that we don’t see much wear and tear in the wicket. Either it becomes flat or there will be more assistance for fast bowlers if it’s overseas,” he says.

(File Photo)

“Spinners have the duty to contain the innings, bowl maiden overs and keep bowling in one spot from the other end. I think what he is saying is to get spinners into play after the third day. Light spin on offer on Day 3, Day 4 followed by a major role on the last day for the spinners. That should be the norm in all Test matches. Everyone should have an equal chance to perform in a Test match. It should not be in favour of either batsman, fast bowlers or spinners,” he provides.

A profession minimize quick 

Yohannan himself has been no stranger to studying to reside anew with powerful truths. As a debutant he had caught eyes. He was tall, athletic, 22 years outdated and the son of Indian lengthy jumper, Olympian, and nationwide file holder for 30 years, T.C Yohannan.

When he made his worldwide debut after taking part in a handful of First-Class matches, his straightforward motion and skill to hit the deck onerous had made him the ‘next big thing.’

He made his Test debut towards England in Mohali and, extremely, took the wickets of openers Mark Butcher and Marcus Trescothick in each innings. He remained wicketless in the next match, solely to return after one 12 months towards New Zealand in Hamilton. But there too he failed to make a mark. He didn’t get one other probability in the Test format after that.

Yet on his ODI debut, Yohannan took three wickets towards West Indies at Bridgetown together with these of openers Chris Gayle, Wavell Hinds and wicketkeeper-batsman Ridley Jacobs. In the next match, he did get two wickets but additionally went for 10 runs per over.

“One thing that helped me was that I was raw then. I didn’t think too much. All I knew was I have to run in and bowl in good areas. It was as simple as that. The first match, all I remember is running in well, running in hard, hitting the ball in good areas. My strength had always been bowling against the left-handers,” he says.

Yohannan caught with the squad and acquired one other probability towards Sri Lanka however was unable to outsmart the batsmen. The time was ripe for extra possibilities however the Sourav Ganguly-led Team India had been then banking closely on expertise in the tempo assault forward of the 2003 World Cup.

“…They were looking for a unit for the upcoming World Cup (2003). They were building on experience to go into the tournament. Zaheer was there, Ashish was there and Ajit. They wanted one more guy to fill the place. That’s when Javagal Srinath made a comeback. They were giving more chances to them while I was there in the squad. I got injured after that and could not continue the same form,” he says matter-of-factly.

The affect of Lok Sabha elections on IPL debut

Yohannan was again in the limelight as soon as once more when he was picked by RCB for the second season of the cash-rich IPL. However, the assault on the Sri Lankan staff on March 24, 2009, adopted by the unavailability of safety personnel due to the Lok Sabha elections compelled the IPL out of India. While South African pitches would have suited his type of bowling, issues didn’t go his manner. Yohannan has no regrets.

“I couldn’t journey due to the travelling restrictions when IPL was shifted to South Africa out of the blue. They might solely carry a sure variety of gamers. They already had their bowling lineup set with Dale Steyn, Parveen Kumar, Jacques Kallis, Vinay Kumar and few different Indian bowlers. They couldn’t afford to carry one other Indian man. I used to be sadly dropped out and that was okay. I discovered lots from my temporary stint in IPL.”

Before the staff travelled for the South Africa leg, the fast bowler brushed shoulders with a younger Virat Kohli. Yohannan immediately knew there was one thing completely different about the teenager. His method to batting, as an illustration.

“I really enjoyed bowling to him and he looked different straightaway. The time that he had to play bowlers and also his mental approach towards the game. He had a ‘never say die’ attitude…that natural aggression which he still shows in the field. That was his strength and it was very evident right then when I was fortunate enough to bowl to him in the nets. Hats off to him that he transformed himself so well. That time he was a chubby and full of energy, a young teenager. He understood himself so well, what he is and how much commitment is needed to get the best out of him,” he stated.

Handling the setbacks

So how does a teenager raring to go take care of setbacks like Yohannan’s? Current gamers, Yohannan feels, are mentally stronger due to their publicity to high-pressure video games like the IPL and India A excursions. He is in awe of swing bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar for establishing himself as a mainstay in Indian bowling assault over the years.

“…how he came into the scene as a rookie bowler who could swing the ball really well both ways but with not much pace. How at one point of time he became a mainstay in the Indian team who had decent pace. There was a time when he was constantly clocking 135-140 kmph. He became a main weapon for the Indian team,” he says.

For now, Yohannan is eager to deal with his activity at hand.

As bowling coach, Yohannan already has his Kerala boys onerous at work. He has spoken to a couple of and suggested them to work on their expertise and assess their bowling motion. Most, he says, are already engaged on their health. Mental management is essential to not shedding the rhythm throughout the lockdown.

Yohannan is already enthused about his tempo quartet. Their uniqueness and skill to hunt in the again and contribute to the staff although the 4 of them don’t get to play collectively in each sport has impressed him..

KM Asif

“Asif KM is the quickest amongst the lot. He has the potential to clock 145 (kmph) persistently. He is extra of a brief spell form of a bowler. You give him quick spells, he can provide his all in these 3-Four overs (spell). He is explosive and you may’t anticipate lengthy spells from him. He has good variations and fitted to the limited-overs sport.

That’s why he was chosen by Chennai Super Kings they usually additionally retained him. His focus is extra on white-ball format.”

Kerala fast bowler Basil Thampi (File Photo)

Basil Thampi

Thampi, feels Yohannan, has higher potential and selection. “He has got a good yorker, can bowl a good outswing and a slower ball. He is a bowler we use in both formats equally. He needs to condition the mental aspect and believe in himself so that he can be more consistent on a higher level. He is one of a kind potential who is not just a great bowler but a very good athlete. He has a very natural run-up and can bowl at good speeds.”

Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy Kerala pacer Sandeep Warrier (Photo: PTI File)

Sandeep Warrier

Sandeep Warrier has proved himself in the final two seasons. “He has gone through setbacks, injuries and come back very strongly and has got the rewards. He is the pick of the lot amongst the bowlers in Kerala team, a leader of the pack without any doubt. He is matured enough and has the ability to bowl long spells. If the captain wants, he can continue on a longer spell. Also, he can be quick at times. He is the most complete bowler of the attack in both formats equally and knows what he is doing.”

MD Nidheesh

Nidheesh MD was the highest wicket-taker final 12 months. “He is in the shadows of those guys. He has been the darkish horse and the workhorse for the staff. He bowls the most variety of overs and retains one finish tight. He builds the stress from one finish. He maintains a great line and size with good speeds (135 kmph above) too. He can also be part of the Mumbai Indians staff and is an efficient prospect for us proper now.”

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