January 3, 2014

India cricket

Meeting VV Kumar

Vaman Kumar was one of several spinners in India who had very limited opportunities at the Test level. He played only two Tests in 1961, but graced the Ranji circuit for Madras in a career spanning three decades. He speaks to Shashank Kishore of Wisden India on his career, the golden era of Indian spin, the decline of college cricket and why modern spinners are not thinking for themselves.

It's easy to see why Kumar is a respected voice. He may have given up his role as a spin mentor at the National Cricket Academy, a position he held from 2003 to 2010, but he hardly shifts focus from cricket, particularly spin bowling. "You see, over-emphasis on coaching has brought about a bit of degeneration in the players' thought process today," he points out. "They're just not able to think independently. Players are literally being spoon-fed today. In our times, there were no coaches, so the people who graduated in the 1940s and 50s were naturals. They had their unique understanding of the game. "No one taught them your right leg should be parallel to the crease or your front foot should be facing fine leg for pivot. They didn't need any coach to tell them that. Today, that's not the case."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.