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Teams where coaches work behind scenes and give players freedom do better: Ambati Rayudu

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Ambati Rayudu

Ambati Rayudu (File image)

New Delhi: Former India cricketer Ambati Rayudu has no doubts that IPL teams empowering its players to take "ownership" are the ones likely to be more successful compared to those who leave decision-making in the hands of coaches.

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In a discussion on what goes into keeping the team environment healthy, the former India and Chennai Super Kings player cited Kolkata Knight Riders mentor Gautam Gambhir's example. He loves the manner in which Gambhir gives his players the freedom to perform and according to him, it has been the key to the two-time IPL champions' run of success so far this season.

"If the coaches take a back-seat and work behind the scenes, and let the players take the ownership, and let the players have the freedom in order to perform on the ground, tose are the sort of teams that excel, and that is what KKR has been doing," Rayudu, a veteran of 55 ODIs and six T20Is told Star Sports on Tuesday.

KKR, the IPL winners in 2012 and 2014 under Gambhir's captaincy, became the first team the enter the playoffs this season and are currently on 19 points after nine wins.

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Gambhir returned as KKR mentor this season and his presence is being attributed to the team's resurgence after nearly a decade.

"Gautam Gambhir is just facilitating them and guiding them in the right direction... If you keep it simple, it is easy," added Rayudu, who has been part of six IPL-winning teams.

Former India spinner Harbhajan Singh applauded ex-KKR coach Brendon McCullum for bringing positivity into the dressing room irrespective of whether the team won or lost.

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"When I was part of KKR, Brendon was there. Brilliant coach. One of the top guys I have ever worked with. He was so positive in that dressing room. Whether you win or lose, he remained the same.

"We lost about 6-7 games at the start of that season, and we ended up qualifying for the final. I have not seen even a single change in Brendon McCullum when we were not winning and when we were winning," said Harbhajan about the former New Zealand cricketer, who left KKR in 2022 to become England Test coach.

He added that it was the duty of mentors and coaches to keep the players in a positive frame of mind.

"He (McCullum) was just very humble, straightforward, and for him, everybody was equal. So that is what is very important to make sure the team is important. It is about those players going there and doing what they have to do to make sure they lift the cup.

"It is our duty as mentors or coaches to give them the best we can and keep them in good shape. Not just physically but also mentally because that plays a very big role."

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