Kerala cricket team coach P Balachandran dropped
Kozhikode: In an unprecedented move, the Kerala Cricket Association dropped coach of the senior team, P Balachandran, and four players in the midst of the Ranji season.
Also, six members from the state U-23 team have been included in the team for the rest of the season.
Current bowling coach Tinu Yohannan has been appointed the head coach and U-23 trainer Rajagopal will assist him.
Sources say Balachandran was informed of the decision over phone once Kerala’s match against Haryana at Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur ended. Accordingly, he returned home on Wednesday.
KCA president T C Mathew told Mathrubhumi that the decision to drop the coach was taken as the team failed to meet the expectations.
“We should have attempted to secure six points by winning each match, not to collect three from draw. The team lacked the aggression. Despite the issue was pointed out, the coach was unwilling to change his attitude,” he said.
Kerala has secured 12 points from five matches in Group C while Haryana leads the chart with 16 points from as many matches. Two top contenders from the group will march to the quarter finals.
Kerala’s next four matches in the season are against relatively weaker opponents and the prospects of the team reaching the Elite group remain bright. Against this backdrop, the restructuring has been made.
Sources added that four players of the current team -- Nikhilesh Surendran, M D Nidheesh, Robert Fernandez and V A Jagadeesh -- are likely to be dropped.
Members from U-23 squad, Mohammad Azharuddin, Akshay Chandran, Fabid Farooq, Akshay K C and Salman Nizar may find a place in the team, they added. Another youngster Vishnu Vinod had represented the team in the game against Haryana.
Balachandran, a former state player, was appointed the coach during the 2015-'16 season. In the previous season, the U-23 trained by him had made it into the Elite Group in CK Nayudu trophy.
Also, Kerala had a memorable outing during the last Ranji season.
It is learnt that internal issues resulted in his expulsion.