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TNPL 2016: Interview with Lakshmi Narayanan - The High Performance Analyst behind Chepauk Super Gillies' success

Performance analysis helps young players improve their game and analysis includes every minute aspect of the game.

Lakshmi Narayanan discussing strategy during Chepauk Super Gillies practice session

In modern day cricket, there is no dearth of T20 leagues all across the globe. Every country and now some of the states have their own T20 league. However, Tamil Nadu Premier League stood out amongst all other T20 leagues in the inaugural year itself.

Foreign Commentators, Live Coverage of all matches and some exciting cricket were the key highlights of TNPL. Let’s get to know more about TNPL and one of the finalist team Chepauk Super Gillies from super analyst, Lakshmi Narayanan.

Q. How was your experience with Chepauk Super Gillies?

It was a brilliant experience! I come from the same region; I started my career as video analyst then became a performance analyst and now back to Chepauk as high-performance analyst. The build up went really well right from the auctions. Our team was the only team with no national players. Yet we reached the final.

Q. TNPL has got a lot of popularity in the 1st season itself. What are the main reasons behind it?

The setup of the league was pretty much professional. Every game was analysed thoroughly, players showed immense zeal and skills on the field. Participation of some big names like R Ashwin, Dinesh Karthik helped the league to gain popularity.

It is a huge platform for local players to showcase their talent. All matches were televised, which is a big advantage for our local players to get recognised. I believe that this league will be a launching pad for many of the talented cricketers in Tamil Nadu. We’ll surely see some of them playing in IPL soon.

Q. What are the challenges when doing performance analysis for IPL teams and local teams?

It was not very different. Though a lot of video footage was not available because most of the players were local players, we at Agaram Sports Technologies had enough data to come up with strategies. We used to have bowlers and batsmen meetings before every game. 

We made strategies for the upcoming games like we do for any IPL team. Lots of credit to our coach, Hemang Badani. I have a very good rapport with him and our captain Satish. Most importantly, our players executed the plans perfectly. Especially the bowlers, they bowled to their strengths and batsman’s weaknesses that we spotted before the game.

Tuti Patriots
Tuti Patriots were the winners of the inaugural TNPL

Q. How has analysis helped players? What was their response towards technology?

There were lots of young players and the use of technology and performance analysis was new to them. All of them cooperated very well. Every single player in our team has the hunger to perform. Some of the youngsters like Ashwath Mukunthan and Sai Kishore put up brilliant performances.

Q. Chepauk Super Gillies finished at top of the table and most of their victories had large winning margin. Was it because of proper planning and analysis?

Yes, planning and preparation for next games helped a lot in winning matches comfortably. We had our strategies set and everyone in team was clear about what task he has to perform. The instructions were clear. Once again, credit must also go to our coach and captain for backing the plans I made and also showing trust on young players.

Q. You have been associated with many IPL teams. How useful was your past experience in TNPL?

The experience of working with champion teams like Chennai Super kings and Gujarat Lions was indeed crucial. I have gained so much knowledge while working with these teams. I now want to make use of that experience to help young players in our team so that they can optimise their performance.

In IPL, usually, only 2-3 domestic players play in the team. Here we had only domestic players. As an analyst, it is necessary to talk to players and understand their mindset. Different players have got different approach towards game. An analyst has to customize the plan for each and every player. It’s a short tournament so you have to be on target from day 1. We did exactly that.

Q. Initially, you mentioned about video analysis, performance analysis and high-performance analysis. Can you elaborate on what’s exactly the difference between it?

Use of technology has evolved over the period of time and so is the role of analyst. Earlier, everything was based on video wherein we used to analyse the game by watching past videos. 

Then we started using past data along with videos. The overall performance of individual and team’s performance was taken into consideration - that’s performance analysis; it includes every small aspect of game. Like runs scored by batsman in a particular area or in a particular region of the ground.

Now, the analyst’s role is far beyond that. I was involved with Chepauk Super Gillies right from the auctions. We picked the best possible team. As a high-performance analyst, my job is not restricted only to a small window when the tournament is played. Players are monitored throughout the year so that their performance keeps on increasing continuously.

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