Kerala state player, coach and motivator. Sreejith wears many hats in his eventful sporting career. Having worked as the coach of Sreesanth Cricket Academy, this spirited youth has taken the lead in molding the fresh talents and transforming them to the National scene.
Here’s our exclusive interview with him. Read on…
Tell us about the early days of your career?
Well, I began my sports career with the Thripunithura Cricket Club at the early age of 10. I played for Under – 13 Kerala two times. I went on to play Under 16, 19, 22, 25 matches for the State later. I was also in the Ranji camp as a probable player for one year.
Your decisive moment in career?
At the age of 13, I got the chance to get coaching under famous Kerala Ranji player & coach P Balachandran for Kochin Refineries Team. My professional career starts from that moment.
How did you foray into coaching?
My first stint as a coach was with former Indian player Sreesanth’s cricket academy. Now I am coaching for Thrippunithara Cricket Club.
Sachin Tendulkar & Brian Lara.
Who inspired you most?
I began my cricket career, watching Sachin play in the 90’s, naturally my aim was to play like Sachin and don the Indian team hat. Sachin, Azhar and Dravid were the main players who motivated me most.
Mentors in life?
My first coach was Achuthankutty Sir at Thrippunithura Club, where I started my career. It was Balachandran Sir, who helped me grow as a professional player, and I am grateful to him for teaching me so many things in cricket.
How you compare the cricket scene, then and now?
Today, kids have all facilities, that were unknown to my generation in those days. Even to see a turf wicket, we had to wait for state tournaments. But, today, boys are playing mostly in turf in all tournaments. They have lot of opportunities to show their skills now.
What is the future of Kerala cricketers?
This is the right time for our boys to rise to the Nationals and play for India. KPL has started and it is blessing for our boys, but we need to change our outlook; strengthen your mind. Outside the state, focus is on to make the boys mentally tough, here we are not doing that. We need to incorporate such mental exercises as part of our training.
Your biggest achievements as a coach?
I joined Thripunithura Club 6 months ago, during this brief time, I helped our B Team to make B Division champions and help them promote to A Division. Our A team became runners up in A Division. Under 13 & Under 15 we are the Ernakulam district champs now. In All India Pooja Cricket Tournament, we played finals after a long gap of 55 years.
My vision is to identify best talents from the state and coach them. There are many players who play for National Team from outside the state, why can’t local boys make it to the Nationals. My plan is to motivate our boys into mentally tough players.