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Abhay Sharma pips Sarandeep Singh in ‘tight race’ for Delhi coach; Gagan Khoda to lead selection panel – Firstcricket News, Firstpost

New Delhi: Former India A and U-19 coach Abhay Sharma has been appointed as Delhi coach for the upcoming domestic season, which begins with the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy on 11 October. The senior selection panel will be led by former India cricketer Gagan Khoda. After a week-long deliberation, DDCA approved the recommendations made by Cricket Advisory Committee led by Nikhil Chopra.

Sarandeep Singh, former India cricketer and national selector, was also in the race for the coach’s job but Sharma’s coaching experience gave him the edge. The CAC was impressed with presentations and vision of both the contenders but Sharma got the unanimous nod.

“It was a really tight race between Sarandeep and Abhay. Both had excellent presentations and vision for Delhi cricket but we went with Abhay because of his coaching experience and stints with the NCA. Additionally, having Abhay means we won’t need an extra batting consultant as he would perform both the roles for the team,” said Chopra.

The current set of appointments features very few names who have served the association in the past decade either as coach or selector. Was there a dearth of applications?

“No, not at all. Almost everyone who had worked with Delhi cricket in the past had applied. But we went ahead with a fresh vision and guard this year. See, things can’t go on forever. There must be changes. Even people like Ravi Shastri, Gary Kirsten have been changed… change is the only constant I would say. And fair to say, Delhi teams have not done well in the last two years so the only intention was to inject some freshness in the system and then see where it takes us, and the association.”

“Even If I wasn’t leading this panel and someone else would have, they would have taken similar decisions too. Get in people with the right technical knowledge, a sense of freshness and intention to set a right environment for the players to perform and excel. We can’t have a culture where players are dropped/picked after one match. Injecting a sense of security is very important,” said Chopra.

‘Absolute backing from the President’

DDCA president Rohan Jaitley gave the CAC a free hand to take decisions regarding cricketing matters. The panel, also comprising former India cricketers Gursharan Singh and Reema Malhotra, had complete support from Jaitley and operated with the same goal – taking Delhi cricket back to top.

“We need to win… message was clear from the president and he gave us absolute freedom and support to take our decisions around cricketing matters. There was no interference from him during our process and he gave us a free hand to take decisions for the betterment of cricket in the capital. The intention both from us and the president is to take Delhi back to its glory days. There is so much talent in the capital. There is no reason why we can’t dominate or start winning trophies again,” said Chopra.

All set for the upcoming season

With less than ten days to go for Delhi’s first match of Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, Chopra agrees that it’s a bit late to set the ball rolling but with the “right people in charge” and the work already done by DDCA Technical Expert Group during the DDCA Challenger, Leagues and Hot Weather will serve a lot of database for both the selectors and coach.

“Can say we are a bit late but a lot of work is already done by the panel led by Maddi paa (Madan Lal). There is a lot of database of players already available and it has already given the selectors and coaches the head start. Soon, we will start with the camp for the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and the coach and selectors will have their set of players to work on,” said Chopra.

Senior panel:

Selection Committee: Gagan Khoda, Mayank Sidana and Anil Bharadwaj; Observer: CAC Chairperson/nominee;
Coaches: Abhay Sharma (Chief coach), Parvinder Awana (Assistant coach) and N. S. Negi (fielding coach);
Managers: Sachin Gupta and Agnesh Kumar Surya;
Trainer: Yuvraj Salvi;
Physio: Parmeet Singh.

Men (U-25)

Coaches: Pankaj Singh (Chief coach), Sumit Dogra (Assistant coach) and V. Arvind (Assistant coach).
Managers: Sandeep Joshi and Lalit Rawat;
Trainer: Prashant Pujar;
Physio: Gajender.

Junior (Under-19)

Selection Committee: Messrs Akash Malhotra, J. P. Pandey, Abhishek Sharma;
Coaches: Jaswant Rai (Chief coach), Shankar Saini (Assistant coach) and Yogesh Nagar (Assistant coach).
Observer: CAC Chairperson/nominee.
Managers: Vivek Khurana and Deepak Sharma;
Trainer: Karun Mehra;
Physio: Abhishek Sawant.

Women

Selection Committee: Amita Sharma, Vandana Gupta and Sonu Sharma.
Observer: CAC Chairperson/nominee.
Coaches: Dishant Yagnik (Chief coach), Jaya Sharma (Assistant coach) and Khyati Guliani (Fielding coach).
Managers: Amanjeet Dhillon and Faruna Singh; Trainer: Arjun; Physio: Khyanti Sharma.

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