Selangor cricket team bounces back to redeem itself


By D. RAJ

The state team celebrates winning the inter-state championships. They lost in the Sukma semis a year earlier.

WHEN Selangor lost the Sukma cricket semi-final match to Kuala Lumpur by 48 runs last year, the state’s coach, Roshan Senna Singh, went into hiding.

The team finished third, beating Johor, but for over a week, Roshan locked himself inside his room, coming out only for meals.

Roshan (left) and captain Vijay Unni with the trophy.Roshan (left) and captain Vijay Unni with the trophy.

He wanted to figure out what had gone wrong with his preparations.

The solitude and meditation worked.

“We had prepared very well for victory. But we did not plan on how not to lose,” said the coach.

He learned his lessons well. This year, Selangor swept every domestic title on offer, winning the Under-16 (U16), Under-19 (U19) and senior men’s titles.

Now, Roshan wants more. His players are targeting a two-gold sweep in both the T20 and T10 events of the next Sukma in Sarawak in August next year.

What sparked the revival?

“We have one of the best talent pools in the country,” said state senior team skipper Vijay Unni, who had also captained the team at Sukma.

“We have many boys in the Sepang sports school, and there are many schools in Selangor that are active in cricket.”

Roshan also wants teams where at least 10 batsmen are of good quality.

“Even bowlers should be good batters,” he said.

The SK Putra Perdana in Sepang is a sports excellence school for cricket, and Roshan used to coach there.

He has inculcated a “similar” philosophy among all his players, saying that he wanted “thinking players.”

“Players can contact me at any time about their game. They have to ask themselves questions every time, like, ‘Why did I miss that shot? What could I have done better? Only then can they improve.”

Vijay agreed. He said the coach asked them those questions about themselves to ensure they got involved.

“We think about the game and how to get better all the time.Where players used to say ‘tak tahu’ when asked about what went wrong, now they analyse.”

Vijay said the coaches in Selangor have a willingness to produce new players all the time.

“We train regularly, and more boys are included all the time.”

The Under-16 team also swept to victory.The Under-16 team also swept to victory.

In the national U16 meet in March, Selangor won all their group matches, beating Terengganu, Sarawak and Johor before trouncing Perak in the semis and Negri Sembilan in the final.

“Several of our players from that team also played in the U19 after that,” said Roshan.

He added that they were mature enough to take on players who were much older.

In May this year, the U19 squad, led by young Davin Harendra, also swept the title, winning all their games. But the standout game was against a fighting Kelantan, who had scored 219 runs in 50 overs and had Selangor at 138 for eight wickets.

The Selangor side rallied to win 223 for nine.

The Under-19 team are all smiles with the national title.The Under-19 team are all smiles with the national title.

National U19 player Adeshlie Alias proved himself to be a man to look out for in the future with 53 runs in that match.

Selangor Cricket Association president S. Sehar said it was all due to team effort and long-term planning.

“We had newly-appointed national coach Suresh Navaratnam as our coach in 2017. And the older coaches taught the younger players to become coaches as well.

“We also have a big pool of players, with about 50 to 60 Under-12 boys joining the system every year. And that’s only from four districts that are closer to Klang Valley.

“We are trying to reach out to the other five districts as well to create a much bigger pool.”

Sehar is more than the association president. He is also a friend of the various teams. The players and coaches can always reach out to him to solve any problems they face.

“The players must play for you. They must be proud of representing the team. If you know and understand the players, they will make the right decisions. They can always see me about any issues.”

What he wants in return is a winning mentality. And that starts with Sukma.

Sehar said their target for next year was nothing less than the gold medal.

“We must have a winning mentality. If you are not aiming to win, you might as well not compete,” he declared.

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