JAK resorts to novel way to train 'keepers

Cricketers sweeping with their bats is a common sight but seldom do we come across them wielding a broomstick.

Karnataka batting coach J Arun Kumar kept onlookers amused for a while as the former opening batsman faced the left-arm spin of KP Appanna with a broom as he sought to sharpen stand-in stumper Robin Uthappa’s catching skills behind the wickets. “I hit upon this idea sometime back while coaching in my academy (Nimritha Academy),” pointed out Arun.

“The wicket-keepers were missing a lot of faint edges (in match situations) off spinners. I found out that it was difficult to practice those catches as the ball usually travels a bit harder and faster off the bat. So I wanted to try with something lighter and broomstick just happened to be there.

“When the ball goes off the broom, it’s almost like a feather and when it goes through it, it’s like collecting a ball after you are being blinded behind the wickets by batsman’s movement. We have been trying this for a while with the team and it has really helped (CM) Gautam’s ’keeping as well,” he explained.

On his first major coaching assignment, Arun hoped the hard yards the players have put in will come to fruition. “We have prepared hard in the run up to the event and we have had some encouraging results along the way. We won (the KSCA) Safi Dharashah Trophy and the Buchi Babu tournament (in Chennai) and hope to keep the momentum going this season,” he noted.

The former Karnataka skipper rated their opening-round rivals Baroda as a tough side. “I’ll say we are evenly matched sides. They have some quality players and they know the conditions better. We really have to put our best forward to come out on top,” he remarked.

Baroda coach K Sanath Kumar felt his familiarity of Karnataka players will be of little help. “In these days of video technology, there’s nothing called secret about a particular player. Everything is out there in the open. We are a side that is going through its transition with some of the senior players having stepped aside. Karnataka will be huge challenge for us,” he offered.

Sanath said that the injuries to key bowlers – Munaf Patel and Murtuja Vahora – were a real setback for his side. “We now have to bank on our all-rounders and our task becomes only bigger because Karnataka has one of the best batting in the tournament. The bowling is in good hands, no doubt, but batting is a lot better.”

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