By JAMIE ALTER
At one time a team-mate of Virat Kohli’s when India won the Under-19 World Cup in 2008, Tanmay Srivastava played most of his cricket for Uttar Pradesh before he shifted to Uttarakhand ahead of the 2019-20 season. The Garhwal Post spoke to him during lockdown.
How do you view the talent in Uttarakhand?
There is a lot of talent, definitely. It’s there in the blood. Of course, most of the players who have played for Uttarakhand in the last two seasons have played cricket in Delhi, UP, Baroda, Odisha and other states.
The Under-19 team did well last season, they reached the semi-finals, which is a boost for the future generation. There are a few U-23 players who are very good, we have some very good Ranji Trophy players. It’s a good mixture. In coming years this will become a very competitive team. The players have to believe in themselves, that they can beat any opponent. That is one priority, for sure.
But the preparation has to be better. We need a good organized setup in Uttarakhand. We need a good practice center, we need to develop Uttarakhand cricket.
How do you suggest the board does this?
We need academies. I can’t speak of the areas like Rudrapur and Haldwani, but in Dehradun there are lots of academies. The grounds are good. I have played at Tanush Cricket Academy, Abhimanyu Cricket Academy, Rajiv Gandhi Stadium and Kasiga School. These are four very good grounds which host competitive games. But as a senior player and professional’s point of view, I think we need better wickets to practice on and play matches on. The ground doesn’t matter too much, but the pitch does.
Our preparations should be good. We cannot afford to train on one type of wicket and then get a damp wicket when the match starts. If we do not practice well, it is very difficult to perform. The infrastructure has to improve. The players need one or two proper centers where they can go and practice under the guidance of experienced coaches, trainers and physios so that they can improve. Getting proper facilities throughout the year will make the players better prepared. Professionalism has to be there.
How do you view Uttarakhand’s two seasons of domestic cricket?
In the debut season, Uttarakhand was in the B Group where the teams were not that competitive. In the second season, the C Group was tougher. Teams like Uttarakhand, Pondicherry and Chandigarh should remain in the C Group so that their cricket can improve. In 2019-20 we got good opponents and this made the younger guys realize that we need to be up to the mark in all three disciplines and that we cannot give chances to opponents to bounce back. We ruined many games like that but it was a learning curve.
We had not prepared that well, in my opinion. If we prepare better next season, I think we will do better. One thing I say in team meetings is to follow the process. If we do that results will follow. Because of rain and the winter months, we did not get enough opportunities to train well enough and then we could not perform up to the mark.
Which format needs focus?
Nobody is playing four-day cricket regularly, it is only T20 cricket. That is one area we need to look at and take this forward. If we do, the results will definitely come. It will take time, but once it starts it will remain. There is that much talent in Uttarakhand.
Have you got a chance to see much of Uttarakhand?
Not a whole lot, but I really want to. I have been to Rishikesh and Mussoorie and a few other places. One place I really want to visit is Landour. I have heard there are some nice cafes there and a very good bakery.
(Jamie Alter is a sports writer, journalist, author and actor).