Shrabani Debnath in line to take charge as head coach of Vidarbha senior team
Following head coach Rituparna Roy’s resignation earlier this month, Shrabani Debnath, Vidarbha’s Under-19 coach looks to be the most likely candidate to take charge of the senior team for the 2020-21 season. While the Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA) is yet to make and official announcement, Times of India reported that Debnath will likely be given the additional responsibilities of coaching the senior and Under-23 teams this season.
After they begun the 2019-20 season on a splendid note – reaching the semi-final of the Senior T20 tournament – Vidarbha crashed and burned at the back end, losing five consecutive matches in the Senior one-day tournament. The Under-23 team too had a poor season, failing to reach the knockout stage of either format.
Having played for Tripura for a few years herself, Debnath’s first coaching assignment was with her home state before she took the reins Arunachal Pradesh in 2018-19. She was given charge of Vidarbha’s Under-19 team last season. While the team were unable to get past the first round of the one-day tournament (the T20s did not take place), the management were satisfied with the direction in which she led the group.
Vidarbha managed one win in their seven games, chasing down a target of 167 against Karnataka with two wickets to spare.
“You can’t always go by what scorecards and stats suggest,” a source told Times of India. “Debnath has been doing a fabulous job with the girls. We have 15-16-year-olds in the Under-19 girls’ team. They are quite new to the game and will improve with time.”
“We have limited talent in the region and Debnath is doing her best. I think she will be able to do justice to the job. There are many players who feature in our senior as well as Under-23 groups, so that will help her.”
A Level ‘B’ coach, Debnath has had the experience of working alongside Anju Jain – while she was coaching Tripura – and Purnima Rau – in several zonal camps – both of whom have enjoyed stints coaching international teams.
With the Vidarbha Under-19 team, she has so far helped lay a strong base for the young players – making sure they thoroughly understand and are aware of the basics of the game. “With more experience our Under-19 girls will do well in (the) future. We need to back them. We are trying to widen our talent pool. Debnath keeps everyone on their toes and makes sure none of the players take their places in the team for granted. She has knowledge as well as good communication skills,” the source added.
Meanwhile, late last month, VCA started online fitness sessions for the senior players, with trainer Abhilasha Pantawane in charge of overseeing the routine.
“No one is sure about the season. So, once this lockdown is over and the game resumes, our players will remain in good shape.”