PUNE: Sridharan Sriram is the proverbial insider. If he were dealing in shares, he would have been charged with breaking a few laws, but luckily his forte is exchanging cricketing notes rather than stock information.
The former India limited overs player from Tamil Nadu is the spin bowling consultant of the touring Australian team and has played a key role in the rise of the visiting Australian left-arm spinner Steve O'Keefe as a major bowling threat in the ongoing series against India. "I have a chat with every one, it is not just the spinners. That is the freedom I get from my head coach," Sriram told reporters of his role in the Australian team here on Monday .
"I can talk to anyone if I feel there is something they should do. It's not about bombarding them with information, it is about speaking at the right time. More than the (cricket) skill, it is about when to say what ... It is very difficult being on foreign tours, so you have to find that right moment and I was lucky to find that right moment with SOK (O'Keefe)."
That moment came on the second day of the first Test during the lunch break. O'Keefe had gone wicketless in the morning session but picked six wickets upon resumption, conceding five runs in just more than four overs as the Indian batting suffered a spectacular collapse. "I came down from the viewing area and I knew he was a little disturbed. I didn't know whether to really speak to him or not. But the conversation happened and he said, `I think I need to have a bowl with you in the centre'.
"I said, `SOK, what do you think you need on this wicket' and he said `I need to go a little bit rounder and quicker'.
Then I just told him `go for it mate' because you know what you can do and you know what you need to do. I think he adapted beautifully."
Sriram's association with the 32-year-old O'Keefe goes back to 2015 when the latter was A' part of an Australian ` team that visited Chennai. Sriram, 41, who also d as an opening bats played as an opening bats man in eight ODIs with modest success with both bat and ball, said O'Keefe had a vision for the role he wished to play for his national side.