Venugopal Rao believes that the domestic set up of the country is no less challenging than international cricket given its standard and duration. While Rao refused to comment on his time under Greg Chappell he pointed out that its thought to coach a side like India, with millions looking up to you.
Former India batsman and Andhra Pradesh legend Venugopal Rao while recalling his glorious days in domestic cricket, which earned him a stand at the Dr Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA cricket stadium in Visakhapatnam, shared how challenging the domestic circuit of the nation is. The Andhra legend has 7081 first-class runs to his name at an impressive average of 40.93.
Rao believes that the domestic set up of the country is tougher to navigate than international cricket. He pointed out that the standard and length of the tournaments in the circuit demands both physical and mental fitness, something which is very tough to achieve and even tougher to maintain.
“Is there a difference? It is same as playing international. It is very hard to play domestic. To prolong for so many years is not easy. You need to be mentally and physically focused to do that for 20 to 25 years. It is a long domestic season. I never felt the length though. In between, I did feel like giving up but it all depends who you are travelling with. When I retired, I was not physically fit and mentally also I could hear my body giving up,” Rao told Sportstar.
The 37-year-old donned the light blue of India in 16 ODIs and cherishes the time he spent with the greats of the game like Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid. Rao picked playing with Tendulkar, an idol to millions, as one of the biggest achievements for him.
“Mohammad Kaif, Yuvraj Singh and I were all one batch from the U-19 World Cup in 2000. Then, I played with Sachin, Sourav and Rahul. I think spending time with them in the dressing room will remain as best memories. Once you wear the India cap along with Sachin, whom you have seen on television while growing as a player, is itself an achievement. For a boy from Gajuwaka, a small town in Andhra, to go to that level shows that anybody can achieve it.”
Rao represented India when it was Greg Chappell, one of the most controversial coaches to have coached India, who was at the helm of the side. While the former batter refused to comment about Chappell’s infamous antics he pointed out that it's tough to coach a side like India where the eyes of the whole nation are fixed on the team.
“I am not too big to comment on something that happened many years ago. As far as my batting was concerned, he had told me the areas where I could improve. If you ask me now, I don’t find it is necessary to talk about the negatives. India is a result-oriented nation with millions watching. Being a coach is a lot of pressure.”