Interview with Cricketing coach , Mr. Sakthy

Q. Tell us something about you and your family

A. For the last 10 years, I have been living here with my family, wife and kids. My daughter is 8 years old and my son is 1 year old.

I have started my cricket coaching here in Kuwait .In the evening ,I was doing free coaching for the kids. I started with three kids under the streetlights.

In my friend circle there are 2-3 kids , their parents asked me to take coaching for them. I agreed. Then I started coaching with them under the street lights. After few weeks and months, so many kids and parents noticed us practicing over there and approached me and asked if I am practicing and providing coaching. I said yes. They too wanted coaching for their kids. They asked about the fees. I said it’s for free. So slowly the number of kids increased from 4, 5, 6 and then few friends joined me, they are regular players, and they wanted to practice with me. In between Kuwait cricket conducted a cricket tournament in Kuwait. At that time , I started with 3 boys, their parents said they want to play for the tournament but you don’t have a team so they will play with other team.
Then I said I give my time for the boys and they play for some other team, that is not good. I will manage a team. And when I was walking through the street, I met some kids I asked them their age, where they study, where are they from, etc. They seemed to be 10-11 years old and liked cricket. I told them about the match.

¬Then I managed a team, I had around 1 and a half month to practice. We participated in the tournament and we won the tournament. We had beaten all the teams and then so many academies joined there. Nobody was aware of this academy. But after that tournament, so many parents took my number and called me and then the number of students increased because of the performance.

Then parents said running an academy in open area is not safe so move to some safe place.
Then I had given so many proposals in Kuwait, except ICSK , I didn’t give anything to this school as I was not aware of this school. Luckily the vice chairman’s son was practicing during that time with me . Then the Vice Chairman told me there is space in ICSK school, you can coach over here . I was not ready to start the academy over here. Then after a few months, I visited this place. Then I thought I have to start it over here at any cost.

Initially I invested 15,000 dinar .I work at National Bank of Kuwait. I took loan from National Bank of Kuwait and I set up the academy. The academy was inaugurated by Dav Whatmore ,the coach when Sri Lanka won the world cup. He was the coach when Sri Lanka won the world cup. He inaugurated this academy. And this academy was tied up with CSS.
Whatmore is having an academy in Chennai , CSS and this academy was tied up with that academy. And after the tie up we have sent so many students to Chennai for the bigger level practice and It is around 20-25 kids we send to Chennai for this practice every month.

Again after one year Kuwait cricket conducted the tournament, we participated in all the categories and we won the trophy, under 13, under 16. Almost all the categories we won the trophies in the years 2018-2019. Even yesterday we had a tournament which we won .Under 12 , Under 14 , both the tournaments we won. Especially under 12, all tournaments, Kuwait cricket ,when they started the tournament for under 12 since that till now we lifted the trophy . And yesterday was the final of Under 12, Under 14 and both the trophies we lifted. And in between Asian cricket the qualifying round for Asia cup, for the first time Kuwait cricket has been qualified for Under 19 Asia cup.

Kuwait qualified because of our boys.3 boys they played and one of the boys his name is Gogal and he scored 2 centuries. And his twin brother he scored 80 runs and Akhil he played very well amazing . Of course this is a team effort but if you are taking the performance these are the highlighting performance why Kuwait qualified for Asia cup under 19 . That was in Sri Lanka last year . They played against India, they played against Pakistan , they played against Afghanistan. And they have played a very good game against India and Pakistan ,it was an amazing game and these guys are very lucky because they played against India that’s test team. India, Pakistan, Afghanistan they are all test teams. So the way Kuwait cricket under 19 qualified, I can proudly and loudly say because of my kids. Because of those 3 kids, I started with the 3 kids around 7 years ago, those kids performance especially that kid performance was the highlighted area that qualified Kuwait for the under 19 Asia cup. These are my achievements and from this academy now under 14 and under 16 tournament is coming and almost my boys will play for under 16 Kuwait. These are the achievements in my academy and this academy ,if we are taking facility wise this is the best in Kuwait. If you are taking 5 or 3 facilities in middle east countries this is one of the best facilities in middle east countries, so if we are taking 3 facilities it might be 3rd or 2nd . It’s that kind of facility. Because this is astro turf , this AstroTurf is imported from England.

After that T A Shekhar he is the coach of Mumbai Indians and he is an Ex Indian player , he was the coach of MRF Pace Foundation . Last December month he visited our Academy and he gave coaching for our kids that is for fast bowling . Next Praveen Amre will be coming , date is not yet decided because I have a plan, I am travelling to Australia to take my Level 2 certificate from Australia because the Australian certificate is one of the best certificate in the world, nobody has it in Kuwait. I am going to Australia to take that certificate. So these are my achievements in Kuwait and in this academy and how I am finding time for this academy after my work , I work at the national bank of Kuwait, Straightaway from my office to Home, I have my dinner at 4:30, I just stand and have my food and rush to the academy. I have to reach here on time and I leave this academy at around 11:30- 12 O Clock.
I don’t get much time to spend with my family. Sometimes, even parents tell me to take a break, rest and spend some time with my family. So, last 2 weeks, I took a break.

Q. What skills and qualities do you spend on as a coach to maintain and develop a team professionally in a short and limited time?

A. Firstly, we need to identify the children’s abilities, like bowling, batting, fielding, etc. We need to identify their potential and then develop those skills. Like for fast bowling, the child needs to have shoulder power, arm power, and if he has them, then only he needs to be trained well as a fast bowler. Some children can spin the ball really well, some cannot . Some can genuinely swing, some cannot. So, accordingly the coach needs to have deep technical knowledge to understand for which skill the child has potential, and then develop those skills. I also speak to their parents and train them for free on Fridays and Saturdays . And I give them more practice in those particular skills.

Q. What do you do when a child does not perform well, so as to get the best in them?

A. We need to do a SWAT analysis. We need to identify why the child isn’t performing, what are the weak areas, sometimes it is mental pressure, sometimes they perform really well for the practice but not for the match. I will talk to them and try to give them as much positive energy as possible. If it is because of lack of practice, we’ll give them more practice matches. Sometimes they themselves build up a pressure to score well. So I need to understand, speak to them as a friend, sometimes as a brother, teacher, or parent. I need to know what is in their mind.

Q. If your captain is out of form for a long time ,what action do you take?

A. I will not change the captaincy. Captaincy is not about form, it is about leading. The captain is selected based on his leadership qualities and not only his performance. We need to analyse why he is not performing well. I need to talk to him and find the reason. If it is under pressure, he needs only positive energy. We will give him more practice in his weaker areas. But if he is performing his leadership qualities, his decision making power, and managing the team on the field, if he’s doing all that perfectly, then he will remain the captain, we will not change that. Changing the captain need not solve the problem as the new one may not have the perfect leadership skills. Cricket is a team game. Captaincy needs to be good.

Q. What are the three main components of your Coaching?

(3 PPP)

1. Professionalism
2. Perfection
3. Progress

A. Firstly it is my experience, my passion and my dedication. My coaching started almost 20 years ago. I was selected for Kerala Cricket, but unfortunately I was not able to play because of an accident. It took around 3 years to recover from the accident. I was not able to play cricket as I had a leg surgery. I realised I couldn’t play anymore. After my Master’s degree, I started coaching in my college. I then left the college and started an academy at my hometown, the same year I produced 2 state cricketers. 2-3 years later I moved to Kuwait. Then , I started my academy here in Kuwait. And the parents of the children are also very supportive. We don’t have to go looking for sponsors, they themselves come to us. Sometimes the parents only approach the sponsors or arrange for the money. They realise how we perform at the nets.

Q. What is your technique to evaluate individual and team performance?

A. I give one-on-one coaching for most students to improve their skills. Fridays and Saturdays I give one-on-one coaching for 1-2 hours per child.

Q. Tell us your past success stories.

A. I am a President’s award holder . I got an award from the President of India in 1994 when I was the leader of Kerala scouts and Guides. From that time , I started my leadership, playing cricket for clubs and my college on state level. In 1994, when I received the award from the President, Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma , at Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi. Then , out of 120 scouts attended an exam, 1 person passes in every state. In Kerala, it was me. That scout becomes the leader of that state for 1 year. I have been in Kuwait for the last 15 years.

Q. What is your previous coaching experience with this age group?

A. I started my academy in my hometown, where there is no ground, no nets, there were no grounds and nets. I started the first nets in my district.

Q. Why your academy (SCA) is on the Top in Kuwait?

We are strictly following (3 PPP) (Professionalism, Perfection & Progress)

Q. Why you are taking Level 2 Coaching Certificate from Australia?

• I have 2 Accreditations in Level 1 coaching one form Asian Cricket Council (ACC) in 2012 and One from Australia in 2019
• Australian accreditation is the best in The World Cricket that’s why.

Q. What message do you want to give for cricket lovers as a coach?

A. Just love and enjoy the game. That is what I do. It’s in my blood, and when you love something, you don’t really see how much money you need to spend on it. I am very happy with the results.

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