|| CF Correspondent ||
Shrinivas Chandrasekaran, a Chennai-based computer engineer turned to cricket analyst has been now a household name for the cricket franchisees around the world for his guidance to the team as a backroom staff. He comes up with necessary information in form of charts and videos showing weakness and strengths of a player as well as opposition—preciously he was driving force behind Sunrisers Hyderabad first IPL silverware in 2016, devising pinpoint plan for Chris Gayle and Virat Kohli—the RCB’s prolific run-makers that year. He has been with Bangladesh national team as a performance analyst for the last one year and besides worked with BPL franchise Rangpur Riders this season. Cricfrenzy’s Muhammad Jubair caught up with Shrinivas Chandrasekaran where he opened about the role of a performance analyst and also his experience of working with top players.
Here are some excerpts from the interview –
Cricfrenzy (CF): Mashrafe Bin Mortaza told us you are ahead of other analyst. He said it takes you five minutes to analyze.
Shrinivas I think I will take it as a complement, this is first. And the second thing is since I have played the game, I have also played for quite a sometime. That has been a passion for almost 15-20 years for me. So I keep following, keep tracking about all the team, not just one team. Whether I am part of team, I just don’t follow Bangladesh Premier League, I will make sure I follow cricket around the globe. So I am up to date about everything. As far as going about with the players, It is important I build that trust with them. Once the trust comes into the picture then they understanding, then they think, ok, this is what we have to do. Then you can emphasize upon your plan. And Mash has been very supportive since he is the captain of Rangpur and I have known him working for Bangladesh. So we have a good relation with him. So whatever it is, I just share it with him and he just takes it onboard. So it’s a good thing.Chadrasekaran (SC):
CF: Is there any plan to work with Bangladesh team and looking forward to continue working here?
SC: Yeah, definitely. Because I have developed a very good relationship not just with Mash, but with all of them. The support stuff has been very supportive. We are more like a family. We are good friends. Not just cricketing stuff, but other things in life as well. We share it for that whatever help they need, they get it. I personally was very happy when I got the call from Bangladesh cricket board to work. I just hope that I keep continue which I would love to. Looking forward to work next few more years or more years working with the Bangladesh team.
CF: Who comes most often to you from the young lot of Bangladesh cricket?
SC: I think almost everyone does that. It’s not that you are asking that’s why I am saying this. It’s not that, everyone does that. Because now they have understood that there is so much technology involve, so they will also keep improving day by day to compete with the international level. For example say someone like fizz when he came into picture. He has those cutters which was like unplayable. But now, after playing him for quite a sometime, people started understanding because of the technology. They know this is what fizz does. For him it’s also matter of day to day improvement, how does he stand one step ahead of others. There are lot of other people like him also, say someone like Liton Das. So they do come to me. But it’s not necessary all about analyzing the game, It’s also about knowing the right thing, just to know that this is the right thing is kind of giving them the assurance that they are doing a good job. It is kind of a mixed thing. So most of them do come.
CF: We know you have worked with Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul. How did you guide them?
SC: I think I have built a good relation with Sikhi bhi (Shikhar Dhawan) and KL (Rahul), KL is one of my closest friend going around. The most important thing, when you are going into a team, it’s about building that trust. So that these guys feel, ok, this guy knows something about cricket. So that is the most important thing. If they get that sense that, ok, this guy knows something. Then they start trusting you lot more. And then you can share your views and all those things. Whoever it is, might be a Bangladeshi player, Indian player that you don’t go and tell them this is the right thing to do. That’s not the way to go for it. It’s important that you give them that suggestion, they take it or not take it, it’s up to them. Because every player has his different plans, technique and all these things. So whatever you feel the right thing to do, you just share with them, if they think to go forward, they do it. Because people are hesitant initially. It’s takes time to get used to the changes as well. They have to go through the nets and if the feel comfortable they do that. Even if the start thinking about it, it’s a win for you. End of the day, trying to help them in whatever way possible.
CF: Mashrafe took an unbelievable catch of Shoaib Malik in Asia Cup which we know needed a huge groundwork inside the team? Can you explain how did you help Mash setting the field for him?
SC: With regards to that, obviously we had our team plan having that mid wicket in place. But that was some unbelievable catch by Mash. I have been in Chittagong Vikings when Shoaib Malik played and before coming to Asia Cup, I was with him in PSL, Multan Sultan. So I have been watching him very closely the way he builds his innings. I am someone instead of looking around the weakness of the opposition, I am someone who analyze our own players strength of our own players. So that helps your game plans. During that process I have found that this is how he builds his game, that kind of helped me when I was working for Bangladesh and he went against us. I kept telling Mash, this is an important field him and then he took an unbelievable catch.
CF: Please tell your journey from computer engineer to cricket analyst.
SC: I was playing for one of the division. One of my coaches out of nowhere he asked me, what are your plans after engineering? I said, I have absolutely got no idea. But whatever it is, I want to work on a sports related field. It wasn’t just cricket. I was interested in other sports as well. He said, there is one company like this, why don’t you go and give interview. And that is when I gave an interview and things fall in place. Once I started doing Ranji trophy, we won all the domestic tournament for back to back two years. So people started recognizing me. Then I got a call from Sunrisers Hyderabad, and then we won the IPL. And then we won the BPL as well. So it kind of progress in that way and God has been kind for me.
CF: What motivates you to become an analyst?
SC: Firstly, you need to have a passion about what you are doing. So that’s a very important thing. If you have passion, you won’t be feeling you are spending 10-12 hours on the ground. Because you enjoying that. Being around with the people, being around with the team mates, winning and losing with them, everything comes in with that. Then people say the software is the very important thing, that’s not the thing. It is all your knowledge. You need to be aware what is happening in different leagues around the world. It’s not like the only league you work, you just concentrate on that. It’s important that you look around as a parson, a player from other league might fit into your team for building a combination or as a national team, when you come up against him, you are well prepared. You know what he has done. So important that you look around, follow the game very closely. And most importantly, when you watch a cricket match analyst, it’s important you don’t support any team. Because once you start support any team, you are only thinking about your favorite players. You don’t open up your mind saying what can be done to him. And you can’t cover everything on a TV set. So whatever you see, just give it a thought if you want to become an analyst. This is what I used to do. I used to think why is he doing that? Why is the captain doing this? I used to think a lot about the game.
CF: Where lies the biggest challenge for you?
SC: Biggest challenge is to initially convince what your thoughts are. Because it takes time to break the barrier among everyone. So initially once the barrier breaks, then you kind of get into it. Second most important thing is, at times you will the game going on a different way then what we are discussed in the dressing room. But then you don’t have bat or bowl in your hands. You just hope that things fall in place. It is very difficult to do that. But that’s part and parcel of cricket, you win as a team and lose as a team.
CF: After losing a match, players gets criticized, what happened then for the analyst?
SC: We as support stuff as one team. Everyone is involved in it including me. See there are two ways to look into it. Obviously you don’t want to lose a game. You want to know understand whether we went with the game plan or not. There might be some spectacular innings, something like Nidahas trophy what happen with Dinesh Kartik. So those kind of things, you have to except that this things happen in game of cricket. And then move forward. I have never taken these things too seriously and it’s not been targeted towards me.
CF: If the plan went against you…
SC: So every time you make a plan, you kind of don’t take the wicket into consideration. At times wicket kind of play in a different way to what it is. So then you change your plan and then you use your 12th man to convey your massage. You don’t only plan A, there is plan A, plan B and plan C. Once you see that wicket, then quickly you change your plan accordingly.
CF: Do you want to be permanent with the BCB?
SC: Obviously I do want that. To be really honest, every time I go away from Bangladesh back home. After a weeks time, I feel like I am missing something. Because it’s been like a family. I have developed a very good relations with Mash, Tamim all of them. Not just them, even the junior players as well. So we are kind of like good thick friends. I get along with everyone. That is something upon Bangladesh Cricket Board to decide if they want me or not. But if given opportunity, I would work here for ages.
CF: Any plan regarding World cup?
SC: I think we have progressed really well. If you look at big tournaments in past few years. You see Asia cup, we have played all the finals. We have reached a quarter final of last world cup 2015, we reached champions trophy semi final. We are in and out there. To be really honest, instead of thinking like whether we go to semi finals, I look at it the other way, I were just one ball away from winning a Asia cup, we were just one good game away from reaching the final of champions trophy. So I look at it in that way. You don’t go into a tournament reaching the semi finals. If I go into a tournament, I want to win that tournament, very simple. It doesn’t matter who it is. It’s only need ten good balls to get 10 wickets. You just hope you get that one good ball right throughout the tournament.