2011-12 was a dismal period in India cricket after the world cup victory. Indian cricket hit the rock bottom after whitewashes in England and Australia. However, we have come a long way since then!
The Indian team of 2011 and 2017 are two totally different sides. The culture of the Indian team, the attributes, the way to go about things have seen a far-reaching change. Fielding standards have improved, penetration has been injected into the bowling attack. Death bowling isn”t the Achilles heel anymore. Also, Indian players have become instinctive hookers and pullers of short balls, something that they couldn”t weather in 2011-12!
But do you know the man who has been instrumental in making Indian team what it is today? It is none other than Raghu, India”s throw-down specialist, who has helped Indian batsmen sharpen their skills against devastating fast bowling. It has made Indian batsmen more adept to face the likes of robust fast bowlers Mitchell Starc, Dale Steyn and their ilk.
The 32-year-old Raghavindraa fondly known as “Raghu” who hails from Kumta in North Canara district of Karnataka came to Mumbai in the 1990s with big dreams of making it to the international level. Though his career as a cricketer didn”t go as well as he would have liked, Raghu managed to master the rare art of sending down throw-downs after spending hours and hours at nets chucking the ball. He was hired by National Cricket Academy (NCA) in the mid-2000s to send down throw-downs.
Sachin Tendulkar was the first one to spot Raghu”s potential. Later on, on his and Rahul Dravid”s recommendation, Raghu got on the flight to Australia with the Indian team in December 2011 as an assistant. This is where his journey began. Now he has become “the only foreign fast bowler” in the Indian team, as Dhoni likes to call him.
Raghu bangs the ball into the pitch, getting it to jump off the length. The likes of Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Murali Vijay have immensely benefited from Raghu”s training, given the fact that they have piled up runs on their last tours to South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.
Virat credited Raghu by saying, “The success of a batsman does not get much significance for those who work for him behind the scenes. But I believe that especially Raghu has made me very strong by practicing on the speed of 140 km,” after India’s semi-final win against Bangladesh in the Champions Trophy.
He also manages a lot of the logistics for the team, from sorting out the complimentary tickets that comes the way of the players on the eve of every international match to sorting out the training gear in the build-up to practice sessions.
Raghu continues to remain an integral part of Indian team. With sterner tests ahead for the Indian team, he will play a key role in honing the skills of Indian players.
– by Atharva Apte