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How Aditya Thyagarajan turned it around with a little help from his coach, friends and wife.
by
Jan 01, 0001
How Aditya Thyagarajan turned it around with a little help from his coach, friends and wife.

By Peter Simunovich

Aditya Thyagarajan at ICC Americas
About a year ago United States cricket coach Clayton Lambert and Aditya Thyagarajan, a middle order bat and leg spinner, had a frank discussion about how the all-rounder could improve his game and help his team as it strives to reach the next level in international competition.

Every player at some stage of his career has a heart-to-heart chat with his coach where the conversation can become pretty basic. "He had his shortcomings and he went home and worked hard on his weaknesses," Lambert, a former West Indies Test player, told DreamCricket.com.

Since then Lambert has liked what he sees in Thyagarajan, who lives in Ventura, California, and plays with Hollywood in the Southern California Cricket Association . He said: "There has been improvement in all aspects of his game. He is batting longer and his concentration is better. He got himself fit and I expect him to get better and help his team."

Lambert said that the role the national team now used Thyagarajan he had become "very dependable, a solid batsman in a closer role like Australia uses Michael Bevan."

In an interview with DreamCricket.com, from his hometown, Nagpur, Maharashtra, in India, where he is visiting, Thyagarajan remembers the time just before he met with Lambert. He said: "My first big tournament for the US cricket team was the World Cricket League Division 5 tournament in Jersey in May, 2008."

"We had a disappointing tournament and personally I was convinced my skill set was good enough to play at the associate/international level, but my fitness and fielding were not up to the mark."

Aditya Thyagarajan
After meeting with Lambert he returned to California and focused on his fitness, fielding and mental strength. The agenda was short, but it also meant a long and hard road ahead. Thyagarajan joined a gym, took on a personal trainer and worked six days a week on his cardio and lifted weights to improve his endurance.

"I could see major results immediately and felt stronger. This impacted my fielding and mental toughness and I was very confident whenever I took the field. My wife, Renuka, was extremely encouraging and went with me to the gym everyday, too, and this kept my focus," he said.

"My single-minded goal was to make an impact for the USA in the next big tournament."

While Thyagarajan was getting his act together he stayed in touch with Lambert, who encouraged him saying he had "complete confidence in me and was looking forward to working with me and the team in the next tournament."

The results of his hard work began to show in statistics where he had an average of 112 in the SCCA.

Thyagarajan was selected for the team that played in the West Indies domestic ODI tournament and the ICC Americas Cup in November last year. He said: "I came to the camp a much improved cricketer and felt really fit and stronger. I made it a point to be the first at the ground and the last to leave at the camp and would challenge coach Lambert to give me tougher drills."

"On the tour of West Indies, I felt comfortable against Test cricketers and ended up being the highest wicket taker and did reasonably well with the bat."

In the Americas Cup tournament in Florida, Thyagarajan described the US team as well knit. He said: "The coach (Lambert), captain Steve Massiah and manager Imran Khan had a lot of confidence in my abilities. Sharing the room with vice captain and batsman Sushil Nadkarni also helped me. Sushil and I focused on discipline and ate well and slept much before curfew hours during the week long tournament."

"I ended up playing two key innings in the tournament - 42 against Bermuda and a match winning 84 against Canada. The turning point was my hard work on fitness and the team management having confidence in me. That was the key. My coach gave me a new name - "Pappelbon" after the Boston Red Sox closer.

"It was a great feeling to do well and justify his confidence in me."

Thyagarajan has a new positive outlook on his game. He said: "My goal for 2009-10 is to not only to emerge as one of the top performers for the USA team, but to do everything possible with bat and ball to help my team win at all levels, be it USA, SCCA or Hollywood CC. I cherish difficult situations and take pride in being someone who can be counted on when the chips are down."

 
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