Former Bengal captain and sports minister Laxmi Ratan Shukla has returned to the world of cricket after bidding adieu to politics. The 40-year-old has started his second innings in Bengal cricket as the coach of the Bengal U-23 team.
Upon taking charge, the former international player put in four consecutive hours of rigorous practice on the first day by dividing 60 cricketers into four teams. He has laid down some austere instructions upon taking charge, promising the players that he is not going to go easy on them.
His stern policies for his mentorship includes rules such as no social media and no long hair. The domestic cricket stalwart plans to use strict discipline to improve the game of the players.
“I have told the boys not to post anything on social media. They have to maintain decorum and discipline,” said after taking charge.
“Those with long hair will need to pay a visit to the saloons immediately. Thirdly they will have to learn Bengali for team bonding,” Shukla said.
Lakshmiratan said the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) is dedicated to the betterment of junior cricketers. It is the same thing he has in mind.
“The supply line from junior to the senior team is very important and that’s why I have chosen to work with the junior cricketers.
“I want to see more cricketers coming up from the districts for both boys and girls. CAB is very serious about the district games, as well as the club games and the association, is doing everything they can for the progress.”
“Now we have to recognize the talents from the districts, keep our eyes open for young talents from every corner of the state,” he said.
Speaking on his mantra that he will adapt as a coach Lakshmi said he has no specific process of success. He says that no delivery can be planned neither can be any century. According to Lakshmi, if everyone strives together, it will bear fruit. Laxmi sees himself as a guide and not a coach. He aims to see more players from Bengal in the national team.
“I will make sure during the sessions that the players are putting in efforts, the result will follow.
“I am not a coach, I am a guide who is here to help the players. To see more Bengal players in the national team is a wish I have as a cricketer.”
“Even when I used to play I never believed in the process much. I have seen Sourav Ganguly play and never felt like he had any kind of fixed process.”
Laxmi Ratan Shukla was a prolific all-rounder. After retiring from the game in 2015, the domestic stalwart entered politics, joining the All India Trinamool Congress in 2016. He went on to become the minister of State Sports and Youth Services, which he continued to serve until January 2021. He quit the role to make his return to the sport.