Former Indian cricketer Tinu Yohannan, a qualified Level-I coach now, thinks young Kerala paceman Basil Thampi had improved a lot in recent times and would represent the country soon. Yohannan, the first player from Kerala to play for India, said the 23-year-old Thampi had shown a lot of promise and earned a spot in the IPL side Gujarat Lions due to consistent performances in the domestic tournaments. "He is a good prospect and is on a learning curve which would help him don the national colours.
He is athletic, which is a key attribute for a fast bowler and looks quite strong," he told PTI today after being appointed head coach of TNPL franchise Ruby Kanchi Warriors.. If Thampi can work on his fitness and increase his strength, he can bowler quicker, Yohannan felt. A few days ago, West Indian all-rounder Dwayne Bravo had praised Thampi and said he was a very talented youngster and would get an opportunity to play for Team India in a year or so. The 38-year-old, who coached his home State last season when P Balachandran was sacked after the team fared poorly, said, they did "fairly well" when he was the head coach. He said good performances in the South Zone T20 championship in Chennai had helped players get opportunities in the IPL. Apart from Thampi, Kerala's Sanju Samson and opener Vishnu Vinod are part of IPL sides. Yohannan said apart from Thampi, Vinod, Sandeep Warrier, Sachin Baby and Daryl S Ferrario were talented players and said they need to be guided properly for them to shine consistently. On Kerala's below-par performances in the domestic tournaments, he said lack of exposure was one reason and added that the lack of four-day cricket in the State resulted in the side not doing well in the Ranji Trophy. Yohannan welcomed the appointment of former Australian Test cricketer Dav Whatmore as the head coach for the 2017-'18 season and said, "he is a wonderful coach and will make a huge difference to the players' mindset and confidence and thereby help improve the team's performance." Further, he said the renowned coach, who guided Sri Lanka to the World Cup triumph in 1996, would instill self-belief among the Kerala players and make them perform well. Meanwhile, Yohannan was upbeat after being handed the coaching job by Kanchi Warriors for the TNPL's second edition likely to be held in July-August this year. "I am excited to be part of something as good as the TNPL. It will be a challenge to coach a T20 outfit and make them deliver," he said. The Kanchi Warriors, which had former Australian paceman Brett Lee as mentor and former India under-19 star Baba Aparajith as captain, had a moderate run in the inaugural TNPL and Yohanan said doing well in TNPL-2 would be a priority. "It (role at Kanchi Warriors) will be a good opportunity to gain experience in coaching," he said.