Little-known Mukunda up for Meghalaya challenge

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Mukunda G. PC: Hubli Tigers

Bengaluru, September 17: The domestic season has just begun and 37 teams with nine newbies have wrapped their preparations for the new season ahead. Each year, we witness new records being written, new talent emerging and teams gunning for glory.

And this year, we have new state teams from the North-East making debut in the cricketing circuit. This remarkable step by the BCCI not just opened the doors for players from the Far East corner of the country but a platform for plenty of cricketers to make a mark at the domestic level.

This move not just gave a few talented players from Karnataka to get another chance to play first-class but even the coaches were recruited by the state teams.  

And a little-known coach from Karnataka has been recognised for his hard work and named the coach of newcomers Meghalaya. He was referred by former Karnataka coach Sanath Kumar, who is currently in Lucknow with the India U-19 team for the Quadrangular Series and will also travel for the Asia Cup in Bangladesh.

Mukunda during a training session at KSCA.

Mukunda G., a KSCA Academy and state junior team coach will take care of Meghalaya till the end of Vijay Hazare Trophy. “Sanath Sir gave me a clue in the first week of September about this role. He confirmed about the job three days before I left for Shillong,” says Mukunda, currently preparing for their opening match against neighbours Mizoram at Nadiad, Gujarat on Thursday. Former Assam cricketer Jason Lamare will be leading the side. 

Impressed with his commitment and dedication at the KSCA Academy for over six years, Mukunda owes this achievement to KSCA. “I finished my BCCI Level I coaching certification in 2013 and ICC Level II, last year. Since then, I have been working at the KSCA Academy under many senior coaches and junior teams. I’m grateful to the KSCA Academy coaches and the officials,” added the Bengaluru-born Mukunda, who began his coaching career a decade ago with schools.

 Mukunda met up with the team members on September 8 and had little time to prepare for the big season ahead. “The players are supremely fit and most of them are experienced cricketers. Persistent rains in Shillong affected out training sessions. Due to bad weather, we had fielding sessions at the indoor badminton courts,” he explained.

“The association has been very supportive and helped us train as much as possible.”

On asked about the team combination and players, Mukunda added, “The players are very local and some have played Ranji Trophy for Assam and Duleep Trophy. It’s a good squad with raw talent and very fit players. It’s a challenge.”

Mukunda was all praise of Meghalaya’s home-grown 42-year-old pacer Mark Ingty. “At this age, he’s the fittest of cricketers I’ve seen. He has lot of experience and has 17.1 points in Yo-Yo test. He is one among our players to watch out for,” he mentioned.

Apart from the academy, Mukunda has assisted Karnataka senior state team coaches during the Ranji Trophy season and also worked with Karnataka Premier League teams – Belagavi Panthers and Hubli Tigers. His next assignment in the pipeline is with the Karnataka U-14 squad in December.

To conclude, Mukunda is also a theatre artist and has worked in a Kannada movie – Nuggekai.

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