Manpreet Sidhu is a former cricketer from India who is now a coach and performance analyst for the BCCI. He is also the founder of EKKAS Cricketing Excellence.
In conversation with Sportageous, Sidhu shares what it means to strive for excellence in coaching and his experiences in the field around the world.
Zushan Hashmi: How would you summarise your career in cricket?
Manpreet Sidhu: Well, today I am a cricket coach and performance analyst for the BCCI. However, I started my cricket in India representing the Madhya Pradesh province and city, Indore. I represented the State in many Division Teams like Under-16, Under-19, Seniors and I have also represented many other teams worldwide as an overseas player.
I have played competitive cricket in England, Sri Lanka, Dubai & Sharjah. When I was 25, I decided that I could not extend my career as a cricketer, and what I would like to do instead is become a good cricket coach.
I succeeded in the cricket coaching exam from my cricket association in the year 2006, after that I successfully achieved the Level-A cricket coach exam in the year 2007 as a BCCI official coach. Later in 2009, I also was invited for the refresher course of BCCI Level-B coaches and attended an exam.
Also, I was successful in the performance Analyst exam under the BCCI in the year 2009 and since then I have served as a professional coach and performance analyst for different state teams and the BCCI in the domestic season of Indian cricket and during the camps as professional Analyst at the NCA (National Cricketing Academy) during the off-season.
Tell me about your life outside of cricket.
My life outside of cricket is my family, my other cricket-related work is my own online cricket platform, I am the founder of Ekkas Cricketing Excellence, we work with professional players & beginners to improve their mental, physical and technical ability.
I am also a fitness motivator coach who encourages others to live a healthy and strong life.
You played in England and the UAE as well across the various leagues there, could you share your experiences there.
Yes, I have played cricket in England and UAE as a professional player, I would definitely like to share my experience with all of you, the cricket of England is very high-level.
England domestic or county cricket is renowned to develop your skills but also in terms of your representation, and players from overseas sign for their cricket season, and play with very high-intensity.
Whereas in the T20 cricket is bigger in the UAE where 20 over matches are played regularly, it definitely gave me strength as a player and enabled me to grow, playing against international players from around the world.
Let’s move on to coaching and some of the basics that you teach players at the youth level.
While coaching at the youth level, my key focus is on the technique and basics of the players.
According to me, in the early stages, if a player is good with the basic skills of his game, then surely he is successful in any kind of cricket.
So, when I coach that group, I am to get the players to enjoy the game and most of the focus is on working on their basics so that their technique is good for their cricket career.
How much of coaching involves teaching players techniques and developing their skills, but also training them as individuals and enabling them to perform to the best of their abilities?
For every player’s technique and for their overall growth, only through professional coaching can we improve them.
Likewise, coaching is very important in preparing any player professionally, whether it is his technical, mental or overall development as a player.
I also make sure I tell players about their strengths and weaknesses so that they can understand their game better and be able to perform on any level.
You have worked with the BCCI for a significant amount of time, how has the quality of coaching changed with the growth in the sport?
As a professional coach and performance analyst at the BCCI, I have been constantly working in this role.
We work with the different players through the state coaching academy at the grass-root level and at the NCA, which is essentially the development space for all age groups and various state cricket players to grow. They are selected based on past performances and we work to improve them further.
I strongly believe that the BCCI coaching setup in India is excellent.
What is the importance of having a diverse and well-rounded domestic cricket structure in the development and growth of young cricket players, as is the case in India?
In my opinion, having a good cricket structure in any country has a lot of benefits and the best cricket structure is in India.
Here, there are different age groups, under-16, under-19 under-23 teams, men’s and women’s matches, who play every season followed by first-class cricket teams with T-20 and list A matches too.
What are some of the technical aspects involved with coaching a team?
When coaching a team, there are a lot of things involved, technically we have to keep a lot of things in mind, which batsman will be good in which role, which bowler will be good for what time and so on.
Which bowlers and which batsmen have the potential to prove useful to a game, and it is technically very important for any team to have a good strategy or plan.
You have also developed a social media presence and brand for yourself. In today’s day and age, it is integral to growing your brand and business, could you share some knowledge on that journey.
Yes, it would be right to say that people appreciate my work as a cricket professional, and my social media platforms, it is only after doing good work that a person gets this sort of following.
The journey is that ever since I started working in professional cricket, I shared all my experiences and knowledge with people and this was received by more and more of my followers
Any other thoughts/comments.
I would like to tell everyone that to prepare themselves as professional players they should take special care of their technique, mental levels and fitness because cricket requires this as a bare minimum nowadays.
The level of competition has also increased a lot, so we know everything and we prepare ourselves in that way too.