Kerala's first Test player Tinu Yohannan has been named the coach of the state Ranji Trophy squad.
Tinu, who was acting as the director of Kerala Cricket Association (KCA)'s High Performance Centre in Alappuzha, takes over the reins from Dav Whatmore.
The decision was taken at a general body meeting of the KCA held via video conference on Monday. The KCA cricket advisory committee had recommended Tinu for the post.
Whatmore had put in his papers after Kerala were relegated to the Plate Division of the Ranji Trophy, the country's top-tier domestic cricket event. Prior to that, the Aussie had guided Kerala to the semifinals in 2018-19 and quarterfinals in 2017-18.
Captain Sachin Baby was sacked towards the end of the last season. He was replaced by senior outstation professional Jalaj Saxena.
Tinu, son of Asian Games gold medallist long jumper T C Yohannan, became the first player from the state to play for India in Tests against England at Mohali in 2001.
However, the lanky pacer could play only three Tests and as many One-Day Internationals. He picked up 145 first-class wickets before retiring in 2009.
No stranger to players
The 41-year-old had a brief stint as coach of the Kerala team after P Balachandran was sacked midway through the 2016-17 season. He has also served as the fast bowling coach of the side in the past.
"It's an exciting challenge. I have been part of this family and one big plus is that I am no stranger to the players. My aim is to create an atmosphere in which each player is able to perform to the best of his ability," Tinu told Onmanorama over the phone.
Poor batting led to Kerala's downfall last season as the team could manage just a solitary win from eight games.
They lost five matches in Elite Cross Pool while two ended in draw.
Tinu said the KCA will provide him a specialist batting coach and fielding coach as the team looks to bounce back.
There is uncertainty over the domestic season with all cricket suspended in the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The players have been told to keep themselves fit and be ready for the domestic season as and when it starts. They can also work on their individual game in this period," added Tinu.