Aditya Iyer

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‘I got to learn a lot under Whatmore’

But for Vijay Dahiya, Kolkata's assistant coach, its been a learning curve like never before. While speaking to Sportline, Dahiya speaks about the highs and lows during his debut IPL season.

For the Kolkata Knight Riders, the third edition of the Indian Premier League ended in disappointment as they were unable to qualify for the semifinals yet again.


But for Vijay Dahiya, Kolkata's assistant coach, its been a learning curve like never before. While speaking to Sportline, Dahiya speaks about the highs and lows during his debut IPL season. Excerpts:


Was the experience of being in the Kolkata team-management an enriching one?


It's been fantastic. I got to learn a lot under the likes of Dav Whatmore, Wasim Akram and Sourav Ganguly. A World Cup winning coach, Whatmore was such a brilliant person to work with. He brought in a lot of experience to the table. Akram was in the role of a bowling consultant and to watch one of the highest wicket-takers of all time in action was a thrill. Finally, Ganguly is one of the finest captains in world cricket and it was a great learning process to work with them in close quarters.


As an assistant coach, what were the roles assigned to you?


My role as assistant coach was to help out the team management with the domestic players. Apart from that, I was part of the core strategy unit, for which I have to thank Whatmore. For example, during the strategic time-out, I would be alongside the coach and the captain during the decision-making. While we (the team management) would make the calls upfront during the game, coaching is more of a backroom job.


What was the biggest disappointment?


It was really disappointing to not make it to the semi-finals, despite getting off to a great start by winning our first two matches on the trot. Other than an odd game here and there, we didn't play poorly as a unit. In the end, we had 14 points from as many games and were not too far away from the last-four. It was close, but not making it to the semifinals was a big disappointment.


What was the biggest lesson you learnt with this stint?


Coaching is a lot about man-management. Although I have coached a lot of big names for my state side (Delhi) in the Ranji Trophy, to manage international players is an altogether different ball game. It teaches you a lot abut yourself. I think I have taken my coaching abilities to the next step.


Who are the new domestic talents on the horizon and who have been the finds of the season?


According to me, Jaydev Unadkat has been the find of the season. Although he didn't have a very good start to the campaign, he was bowling beautifully by the end. I think we'll hear a lot more of him in the years to come. Cheteshwar Pujara too, proved that he isn't just a good player in the longer format. He adapted really well to situations. Finally, Manoj Tiwary had a very good season. He started of very well and is someone who has the potential for the big league.


You have watched Ishant Sharma from close quarters. Was his drastic drop in form disappointing?


I wouldn't say Ishant has fallen down the ranks. He is a very good bowler and a lot was expected of him. I have seen him from close quarters as Delhi's coach and now from the Kolkata dug-out. Ishant has a lot of potential and I sincerely believe that he has it in him to bounce back after a not-so-good run.


How was it to work with Sourav Ganguly?


I have played with Sourav in the national team, but this was the first time I worked with him as part of the team-management. We all know that he is one of the greatest captains in the business, but to watch him lead the side is quite amazing. He is a true inspiration for his players and the management.

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