The elevation of Trevor Gonsalves from a player scout for Punjab Kings to a member of the coaching staff this IPL season has come after years of toil in domestic cricket but he is not complaining.
Gonsalves has entered the “big league” having served four years as a scout for Punjab Kings.
He also has a substantial coaching experience and was head coach at Vidarbha before moving to Assam last year when he guided them to a rare semifinal finish.
He has big shoes to fill at Punjab who had the great Jonty Rhodes as their fielding coach till last season.
“I have always been filling big shoes. I had also taken over from the great Chandrakant Pandit (now KKR head coach) at Vidarhbha,” the 50-year-old said referring to arguably the finest coach in the country.
Gonsalves, who is also a former first-class cricket and someone who played India U-19 under Rahul Dravid’s leadership, has handpicked the likes of Jitesh Sharma, who has gone on to make waves on the IPL stage.
The others players he scouted for Punjab include Vidharbha’s Darshan Nalkande, who is now with Gujarat Titans, and Atharva Taide, who remains with Punjab.
“Before I joined Assam, I had picked quite a few players from the Vidarbha team. I have tracked Jitesh and Taide from the age group level and it is good to see them progressing,” said Gonsalves.
He believes his success with Assam last year, when the team upset biggies of domestic cricket including Karnataka in the 50-over tournament, paved the way for a coaching job in IPL.
There was a time he feels Indian coaches were not up to the task, but now they are fully equipped. However, the IPL remains heavily populated with the foreign coaches.
“As of today, we are doing a pretty good job. There was a time the Indian coaches could not schedule training sessions better than the overseas ones but now we are at par and doing a good job on that front. We are up to it and can replace the overseas coaches (going forward),” he said.
Punjab finished sixth in the past four seasons, highlighting their inconsistency.
They are off to a winning start but Gonsalves said they want to peak at the later stages of the tournament.
“It is a long season and the challenges will come after the first round is totally over. The second half is going to be tougher, we are looking to peak at the later stages. You could win first and be happy about it. We would like to go slow, keeping winning in mind.
“Trevor Bayliss (head coach) is well aware of what happened last season. We are getting together and you will see some surprises this season,” said Gonsalves, who named Zimabwe’s Sikandar Raza as the standout fielder in the side.
He concluded by thanking Assam cricket for giving him a platform to prove himself.
“Assam has been of great support to me and is a big part of my success story,” he added.
Former Tamil Nadu spinner Malolan Rangarajan is another one who has risen up as a scout and is now part of the RCB support staff.