Mike Young to help India's fielding
Mike Young, formerly with the Australian team, has been appointed India's fielding consultant for the limited-overs leg of the home series against Sri Lanka and will join the team on Sunday.
"This is just a consultancy contract with the BCCI, not a coaching assignment," Young told Cricinfo hours before boarding the flight from Brisbane to India on Friday.
Young, primarily a baseball coach, has been involved with the Australian team as a fielding consultant for the past nine years. His most recent contract with Cricket Australia ended after Australia's ODI series in India in October. Before returning to Australia, Young met India's coach Gary Kirsten and then decided to take up the offer. "Gary and I spoke after the series was over in India. I would not speak to anybody before that because I was still contracted to Cricket Australia," he said.
India have been without a fielding coach since the BCCI sacked Robin Singh days before the Australia series. Robin and Venkatesh Prasad, the bowling coach, appointed from India's tour of Bangladesh in 2007 on a retainer basis, were offered no explanation for their termination. Subsequent reports in the media, quoting various sources, indicated a growing concern over India's fielding standards that led to Robin's ouster.
Young comes to the new job with strong credentials. He is well-known for his radical methods and is the brain behind Australia's quicksilver fielding, which has played an integral role in their success this decade. But Young said he would only be involved in training the players and not in developing team strategies. "My role with the team is specific and will only consist of teaching fielding practices and philosophies, I will not be involved in any other aspect of the team i.e. match strategy, player evaluation," he said.
Young will return to Australia on December 27 after the Sri Lanka series and is not willing to talk about a long-time role with the Indian team. "Whatever the future may hold is totally rumour at this stage," he said.
Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo