This is my fifth knee surgery and I know how difficult it is to come back, says R Sathish
Rajagopal Sathish is a veteran cricketer who has been playing cricket in Tamil Nadu for a while and has also represented his state in the Indian domestic circuit on a lot of occasions. Adding to that, he was also a part of the now-defunct Indian Cricket League where he played for Chennai Super Stars. He has also played in the IPL for Mumbai Indians, Kings XI Punjab and Kolkata Knight Riders.
After leading Chepauk Super Gillies to victory in the 2017 Tamil Nadu Premier League, Sathish underwent a knee surgery, his fifth, and was out of competitive cricket for one year. Though he didn't play, he coached the Tamil Nadu under-16 side. Now, he is playing in the third edition of TNPL, for Jones Tuti Patriots.
Sportskeeda caught up with the 37-year-old in an exclusive interview. Here are the excerpts.
Q: So, you underwent a knee surgery after last year's TNPL and you are directly playing the tournament this season. How did your first match in almost a year go? How did your coaching go in the meantime?
It (returning to action) was very exciting. This is my fifth knee surgery and I know how difficult it is to come back after a break. Every time after a surgery, the subsequent four months are very difficult. I even had doubts this time. That's when I got this coaching offer. I was very much involved with the sport. I was not playing but was talking cricket, making strategies and enjoying my time with the kids.
Q: How do you differentiate between playing and coaching?
I didn't feel anything different. Initially, I thought it would be easy but it wasn't. As a player, you can back your instincts and express yourself on the field. But, as a coach, you need to take the back seat and stay calm. As a player, we encourage the players from the dugout but as a coach, you can't show your anxiety to the players. You can't show your happiness or anger because as a coach, the players take a lot of energy and confidence from you. So, you have to stay calm as a coach.
Q: Did you play any form of cricket in the last one year? How did you prepare yourself for this year's TNPL?
I didn't play. I just started playing a couple of months back. Since it was my fifth knee surgery, it took a lot of time for me to recover. So, I started training recently. Even then, I had a few niggles and restrictions here and there but I started off slowly. This is my first competitive match since my surgery. I have to go back and see how my body is reacting.
Q: Are you 100% fit? You didn't finish your quota of four overs, something you always do. How did you feel while fielding?
Had Aparajith not hit a six in my first over, I would have bowled a lot more. I would rather blame Apar for me not bowling more (laughs). Even on the field, I felt confident today. The ball hardly came towards me. There was no need for acrobatic dives today. What's the use of doing something that isn't necessary? (laughs). But yeah, since coming to Tuti Patriots, I have been fielding at my favourite position, backward point. That itself makes me happy. Have to see how things go as the tournament progresses.
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