My name is Hrishikesh Puranik (Founder) and this is the story behind Cricket Explained
I am from Dombivli, a suburb in Mumbai where many Chartered Accountants & many successful people from various fields have made it big. Dombivli has till now has given gems to Mumbai cricket and eventually to Indian Cricket. Some famous names to mention are Nilesh Kulkarni, & Ajinkya Rahane. Many others who started playing with me also made it to First Class cricket and A division cricket in Mumbai.
There are lot of academies in Dombivli so what is the difference in ours and the others. Well, the only difference is that we build relationships and look beyond just technique. While this might sound rude or even too straight forward for some, the fact of the matter is we’re more into giving than taking. Coaching is a selfless job. Passion is the number 1 quality one needs to be a Coach not just the liking towards it. The readiness to stay under the sun for long hours with players without cribbing is the other quality a Coach needs to have.
The simplicity and the cleanliness in the job at grassroots has lately been exploited. Today the passion of coaching and spending that extra little time with players is non existent. Being a Coach, you can’t treat it like a 9-5 job. Some parents spend many bucks at one academy and move onto next one complaining about their first experience. Off course not all the academies take the wrong path but many do hence parents and students think twice before taking admission at a new academy thinking they may experience the same.
Having experienced all this myself while growing up, i decided that whenever I will have academy of my own, it doesn’t matter how many students I will have, I will make sure that I will do justice to their time and money.
In the month of October 2018, on the 2nd of the month CE was born. I started with one student and in a matter of few months I had around 30 students and this was without doing any advertising in the form of banners etc like other academies do. The students who joined us came with references given by our existing students & the parents. I am firm believer that if you give your best, you will experience good things.
THE MORE YOU PRACTICE, THE BETTER YOU GET…..
Many of my well wishers told me, you do so much and spend so much time on the ground, do you even know training needs to be done for 2hrs and the fees you charge is too less for how much you give. I didn’t understand at the beginning. After asking what exactly they meant by that, they told me other academies run 2 batches, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. I only had one answer for them, ‘we’re different and if we want our students to do well then I must allow them to train more. Unlike other academies where students are asked to leave the moment 2hours are done. We’ve have students who come for both batches and we never stop them. Somewhere down the line I know, it is going to help them.
Quality cricketers can only be produced if academies allow them to train for adequate amount of time. I have personally seen potential players getting to face around 20-25 balls in a net, out of which more than half of them are unfortunately bowled wayward. So how can that potential cricketer be groomed.
Bottomline is academies take so many admissions that once the count goes beyond limit, it gets difficult to look after all the students.
My personal view is that if you’re ready to work on each and every student the way you do with those special talente ones, the lesser talented ones can be made to believe that they too can get better. Coaches have to be great Mentors first. Coaching as it sounds is too technical but Mentoring is communication, guidance , support & focused more on informal association between a mentor and a student. During my playing days, I got a lot of Coaching but never had access to Mentoring.
Growing up acquiring all the experience I gathered, the one thing I learnt was, ‘the more you practice the better you get’.
So to answer what is the difference between us and the others is, we love staying on the ground and spend time with our students, we’re always available on the phone, we keep a track and monitor the progress of each and every student irrespective of whether one can hold a bat yet or not. All our students are equal to us.
Today we’re proud to see students who looked completely out of sorts when they first came to us, looking great in the middle and doing well. Credit to our coaches and the culture & standards we’ve set.
Since the inception of CE, I learnt one major thing and that is how to be patient with players. I have seen the growth of players from down below and upwards and down again and up again. But during these periods I have spoken hell of lot to them than just asking them to get into the nets and practice. I always ask myself during such situations, how can I make a difference in his/her game?
MENTOR & COACH DEBATE..
Our cricket community is full of cricket coaches but unfortunately we don’t have many Mentors. All current and former great cricketers have had Mentors along the way in their respective careers.
Ramakant Achrekar was more of a Mentor, a companion, a friend to Sachin Tendulkar than just a Coach. He instilled not only cricket technique in him but also a lot of values. Hence, whenever Sachin failed in a series or a game, he managed to come out ever so strong as he had someone that he could talk to. Its not just about technique, its about expressing what you’re going through. It helps in maintaining the right balance on & off the field.
Founder Hrishi with Former England Captain Nasser Hussain. He visited Azad Maidan in 2018 to shoot a Documentary for Sky Sports.
I founded ‘Cricket Explained’ in an effort to bridge the gap between the player it and the coach. The gap is about the dip in communication. Its about helping individuals off the field just not on field. I just didn’t want to be yet another ‘Coach’ on the list who would provide a technical session in the nets but someone who could help make these aspiring cricketers understand what it takes to perform to the best of their ability.
While I am proud of the career that I have had so far, the importance of having a Mentor could’ve helped me reached even greater heights. I am at peace with it now and moved on but the pain still lives within me. Living through it, I am extremely passionate about helping aspiring cricketers to reach their full potential by being their Mentor first then a Coach. I have had many coaches but never had a Mentor. I am a firm believer of the fact that only technique doesn’t make you a Cricketer. You need to understand yourself and be able to control your emotions when it’s time to perform in the middle.
Lot of cricketers have the technique but they don’t know how to bring technique & mental preparation together. So many kids i see today look out of this world while in the nets but they look a pale shadow of themselves during a match.
Mine was the same, I had everything that a Cricketer needs but later in my career upon reflection I realized that the issue was psychological. All cricketers will tell you nerves do set in & negative thoughts do come in but as athletes we need to rise over all that to be successful. Players feel scared or hesitate to ask questions thinking it might not be a good idea to ask. This happens when the Coaches aren’t open to discussions and find solace in net sessions only.
Today whenever I go out to bat, I make sure I am in the right frame of mind and that has come with experience. After this technique takes over and works hand in hand with your Mental Preparation. Any upcoming cricketer learning cricket has 2 bags. One bag full of talent & potential, the other bag is of experience which is empty.
I started playing the game because of Sachin Tendulkar but in 2004, when I saw this long haired & muscular guy smashing sixes at will, I was completely mesmerised by him. That was MS Dhoni. One thing that stood out for me was, he didn’t look classy while doing that, he didn’t look perfect while doing that, his technique was out of the box rather not even in the coaching manual. So how was he successful for such a long period. In a way he is a perfect case study for all those who feel falsely that only technique and looking classy is the way up.
Today in my role of Mentor/Coach, whenever I see a player looking unorthodox yet effective, i back them and recite MSD’s quote, ‘I am like everyone else, I just control my emotions better than others’. Eventually it all comes down to that not your technique alone. Yes basic of batting & bowling is a must but after that if you can put it to use in your own manner, it’s totally perfect.
Talking about MSD’s keeping skills now, his basics are perfect otherwise he won’t have had affected so many dismissals from behind the wicket but the way he catches the ball or affects a stumping is self taught or self understanding of what suits him better.
The only question that wasn’t asked, was the question itselfHrishikesh Puranik
I always had a feeling in my teenage days that i was going in the right direction, till reality hit me that the form in the nets and scores of 30’s, 40’s and a odd 50 wouldn’t take me anywhere. I was completely devastated and felt very lonely. Honestly, i had some great coaches who would invest so much time in altering my technique, giving me throw downs but none unfortunately would go on and become a my Mentor which all of us need. Its like in life we’ve a companion and in cricket, a Mentor is our companion who rides the waves of Success & Failure along with us.
I always thought, What was wrong with me? I had the technique, skills & physique. So what was it that held me back? Throughout my time in India wanting to make it big, i showed great promise but never really got going.
Trying to get in the Mumbai state team, then Maharashtra cricket team. If you want to play for your state team, you need to be consistent with your performances. One hundred then the other one after 10 innings doesn’t help. Upon reflection i realized that my problem was in my head. It was psychological and nothing to do with technique & skills. My emotions were not letting me perform to my the best of my ability.
TIME IN ENGLAND 🏴 …….
I made a move to England in the winter of 2010 for my graduation and had also planned to play league cricket at Middlesex. I had so many clubs to choose from but since my elder brother was already playing for a club it was an option. Actonians Cricket Club was a great place and even today when I visit the UK, I make sure I visit the club and meet everyone. It was not only a place where i had a successful stint but that place made me who I am today because I learnt a lot about the game & life from the club members and all the players.
Doing all the work on my own like cooking for myself, washing my clothes knowing there is no one to do it for me made a learn a lesson for life that it’s you who has to do it, it may be a batting innings or washing clothes. You need to put value on everything that you do.
Bottom line is nothing will be served on your plate, you’ve to work it off your back side and own it. So lesson number one I learnt was taking OWNERSHIP. The moment I learnt that, I changed completely. I realised, I was taking things so easy back home and it was leading to my downfall.
The moment I knew I had to do a job at the age of 19 to pay off my rent, groceries, travel pass, cricket equipment, cricket subs etc, I became more responsible towards my studies and also in my cricket. During my days off, I used to texts players from my club to come and train with me and I started getting results. I was not wasting my time sitting at home and sleeping, instead I was trying to get better at my game. Some days I have also gone to the club and taken 50 odd catches and come back home, just to get a feel of the ball.
Back home in India, I had the best bats to play but here when the time came to buy a new bat, I found out that it was not my cup of tea to buy one as it was very expensive. I saved money and webt to SportsDirect to buy a very average & affordable bat. I scored around 700runs with that bat in that season and never cribbed about the quality. Back home with more expensive bats and everything at my feet, I was not delivering and here, working night shifts to play cricket during the day was bringing me results.
Still remember those days & innings & spells where I have performed without getting even an hour sleep. It wasn’t easy but all these hardships brought the best out of me. I started putting more value on my wicket and sleep deprived I scored a match winning 98 and also took 4 wickets against a quality side. That very evening all our club teams had won and they were having a barbecue while I was so tired sleeping in my teammates car.
For 2 consecutive years 2012 & 2013, I played the entire season while working night shifts. It used to take a toll on my body as I used to be awake the entire night and play the next day. My elder brother & my parents back home thought I would kill myself if I continued in the same manner but the fact was I was enjoying it because I was more focused & determined to do well and win games for Actonians.
In the year 2012, I won all the major awards from the club and I was feeling a sense of pride that it’s not fluke but it’s all my hardwork & working my arse off ways which has rewarded me with all these awards. All the 3 seasons I played at Actonians Cc were the best days of my life not just for all those 1700 runs I scored at the average of 40 and taking 50 odd wickets but the life lessons I got from there.
Its easy for me to say that was the only thing i was struggling at but Cricket is 70% mental and the rest 30% is skill based so when you’re struggling at 70% part of the game you will never get the desired results.
We at CE feel it is about controlling your emotions at crunch moments which makes you better than others and MS Dhoni is the best example of that. As i said, I personally had many coaches but never had a Mentor. Coaches do 30% of the work which is skills but the rest 70% which is Mental Preparation can only be done by Mentors.
Mentoring is more relationship oriented which is necessary for any aspiring Sportsperson. At CE we work with aspiring Cricketers to get them more focused, powerful, mentally tough and technically proficient than before. Our aim is to not only help aspiring cricketers on the field but also off it. All successful current & former players have had Mentors to guide them at some point in their careers.
Students of Shriram Universal School with Hrishi.
Team India were blessed to have a coach in Garry Kirsten who once said, ‘Cricket coaches shouldn’t just be looking after the skills of players but he should be able to manage different types of personalities, identify them & then give them an opportunity to thrive’.
We believe in talking to our players more than just throwing balls at batsmen in the nets and altering their technique.
Give us this opportunity to be the Mentor you never had.
THANKS FOR TAKING TIME OUT TO READ OUR STORY…👍🏻🏏
Founder (Cricket Explained)