Former Indian and Kerala fast bowler Tinu Yohannan has been appointed as the head coach of the Kerala senior men’s domestic Cricket team. Yohannan will be replacing experienced campaigner, Dave Whatmore, from Australia.
The Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) took the decision following an online meeting held on Monday. The inter-district and zonal tournaments in the state of Kerala were also rescheduled. The elections in various district cricket associations will also be rescheduled after the completion of tournaments.
Tinu Yohannan, son of T.C. Yohannan, a former Asian Games long jump record holder and an Indian representative in the 1976 Montreal Olympics, was the first Cricketer from Kerala, ‘God’s own Country’ to play Test Cricket for India in the year 2001. He made his debut against England in the 1st Test of the 3 Test match series in Mohali. Unfortunately, his International Cricket career was short lived, as he got to play only 3 Tests and ODIs each for India from 2001 to 2002, taking 5 wickets each. In a 10 year long Domestic Cricket career, Yohannan took 145 wickets in 59 first class matches and 63 wickets in 45 List A matches.
Yohannan, who was the bowling coach for Kerala until today, told Onmanorama news, “It’s an exciting challenge. I have been part of this family and one big plus is that I am no stranger to the players. My aim is to create an atmosphere in which each player is able to perform to the best of his ability.”
The 41-year-old had a brief stint as coach of the Kerala team after P Balachandran was sacked midway through the 2016/17 season.
“The players have been told to keep themselves fit and be ready for the domestic season as and when it starts. They can also work on their individual game in this period,” added Yohannan.
Yohannan also said that the KCA will provide him with a specialist batting and fielding coach as the team looks to bounce back in the domestic circuit.
Even though the likes of Basil Thampi, Sachin Baby and Sanju Samson have emerged from Kerala, they had a horror run in last year’s Ranji Trophy, finishing second last in a group of 18 teams, which resulted in their relegation to the plate group. They only managed one outright win in their allotted 8 matches, a hard fought 21 run win against Punjab at home turf. They failed to make the Super League stages of the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy as well, losing out to Rajasthan on Head to Head basis. Their Vijay Hazare Trophy campaign also ended in shambles last season, as they finished 8th with 4 wins and losses each. Despite qualifying for the Quarter Final in 2017 and Semi Final in the 2018 Ranji Trophy, clearly, Dave Whatmore’s coaching methods did not work for them, so they decided to appoint someone at the helm who has had the experience of playing for the local team.
Other than replacement of coaching personnel, Sachin Baby was sacked as captain, and replaced by Jalaj Saxena, who has been an iconic all round Cricketer for Madhya Pradesh before switching to Kerala.