Kiri is keen as ever in his new Avataar

Published: Tuesday, October 31, 2000, 18:23 [IST]
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Bangalore: Syed Mujtaba Hussain Kirmani, popularly known in cricketingcircles as "Kiri", was one of the greatest wicket-keepers of India. Kiristill remembers India's World Cup victory in 1983 when he had donned thegloves for the country. His eyes brighten the moment the topic ofdiscussion swerves to that World Cup victory.

A very successful career in the banking industry notwithstanding, Kiriis all set to don a new Avataar (role) as the cricket manager of theKarnataka Ranji Trophy team. He hopes this would be the stepping stonefor him to wear the mantle of the cricket manager, as Kiri prefers calla cricket coach, of the Indian team.

Kiri, in his first season with the state team, was with the boys at theM Chinnaswamy Stadium on Tuesday morning as Karnataka prepared to take on Hyderabad in their opening encounter from November 1 to 4. Kiriminced no words as he spoke to Thatscricket.com exclusively about hisnew assignment as cricket manager.

"I would like to take any opportunity to serve the game that has givenme so much. But, mind you I'm not a grabber of opportunities," Kirisaid. The following is an excerpt of the interview:

How do you look at your new assignment as cricket manager?

I relish and enjoy anything that is assigned to me. I would like to giveoff to the best of my ability. I would love to serve the game and feelthat I'm better off with regard to the practical aspects of the gamethan theory. I welcome this opportunity, but let me make it abundantlyclear that I don't want to grab (I'm not a grabber) anything.

What role do you envisage as cricket manager?

I'm looking forward to sharing the experience that I have gained duringmy career with the boys. I can tell them how focussed and positive theyshould be on the field. I can tell them how the above two attributescontributed in a large way to our World Cup triumph. I can also work outsome plans and strategies. But, ultimately the boys will have to deliverin the middle. I can't go out and play on their behalf. Depending on thesituation, I can give them some inputs on the practicalities.

How do you propose to approach the first game against Hyderabad?

Our approach to every game would be the same, we would like go for anoutright victory. It shall be my endeavour to get the boys to befocussed to seek an outright win. This will be our sole criterion.Depending on the teams and situations, I can chalk out plans. I wouldlike to inculcate the desire, the force and focus to win each and everymatch among the players.

Would you miss the services of Anil Kumble and Rahul Dravid (both are out with injuries)?

Surely, It is a great opportunity for youngsters to play along side Teststars. They can pick up a lot from them. In fact, the boys were lookingforward to their campaign against Hyderabad with the full complement ofinternational stars in the side. I'm sure the boys would miss Anil andRahul.

How do you rate the pitch?

I would call the pitch as a good 50-50 wicket. There is a patch of grassand Bangalore pitches are traditionally known to be very sporting innature. It is good to see Javagal (Srinath) back in action after a longlay off. We have a good battery of fast bowlers and I expect that theyshould cause most of the damage and not allow the spinners to dominate.Ultimately, it is up to the players (both batsmen and bowlers) toextract the maximum from the pitch. It will be difficult to predict theexact nature of the pitch. But, with our due experience, I would call ita good batting wicket and likely to turn from the end of the second day.

Kiri, we wish you all the best and hope your aspirations of becoming thenational cricket manager turn into reality.

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