Delhi cricket looks to shine under a revamped DDCA

The Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA), for the first time, introduced a transparent process of filling up the posts of importance to the senior and junior teams. K.P Bhaskar was appointed as the new head coach with Amit Bhandari assisting him, Atul Wassan is back as one of the selectors and Maninder Singh will be in-charge for junior selection.

Gautam Gambhir led Delhi will be looking to challenge for the Ranji title in the upcoming season.   -  Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

Winds of change are apparent at the Ferozeshah Kotla. Thanks to Justice (Retd) Mukul Mudgal, and efforts of the panel that picked the coaches and selectors for various state teams, order seems to be on its way back in the functioning of the association.

The Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA), for the first time, introduced a transparent process of filling up the posts of importance to the senior and junior teams. The cleansing process may have knocked out senior coach Vijay Dahiya but it was part of a wave that engulfed everyone. Dahiya, peeved at being demoted as under-23 coach, decided to turn down the offer on Saturday.

For the newly-appointed chief coach of Delhi, K. P. Bhaskar, it was a pleasant return to his roots at the Kotla. “It is like returning home for me. I left Delhi (in 1994-95) to play in the Dhaka league and went on to coach other teams. I am looking forward to this assignment because the team is in a transition phase and needs the best from all involved with Delhi cricket. I will concentrate on creating a strong bench,” said Bhaskar.

Atul Wassan, one of the senior selectors, was delighted to be back at Kotla in a new atmosphere. “The last time I was a selector I was disillusioned with the working of the system at the DDCA. There was too much interference from the Sports Committee. There was no propriety at the Kotla. They were always interested in pushing their boys which meant the team always carried a couple of passengers. On my own I couldn’t swim against the tide. Now we can work properly,” said Wassan.

Maninder Singh, in-charge of junior selection, was also happy to be associated with the DDCA. “I made it a point to apply for the job because, to be very honest, the base of Delhi cricket had been eroded. I wanted to be involved where I can fix the base up. Delhi cricket had gone all wrong at the junior level and the state still produced so many good cricketers. Imagine if things were better we would have flooded Indian cricket with quality players. The changes by the Lodha Committee and Justice Mudgal made me feel something positive was happening in Delhi cricket. I wanted to be part of the cleansing process,” he said from London.

The new coach and his assistant, Amit Bhandari, may not have much time to prepare the team since the Ranji Trophy begins on October 6. “Will work with Bhaskar and keep him updated. I am the link between last year’s team and this year’s. I have to analyse the conditions and keep Bhaskar informed of the bowling unit. The conditions will be challenging because of the neutral venues,” said Bhandari.

Bhaskar also pointed out the strength of Delhi cricket lay in the fact that there was plenty of talent available. “There is talent and there is a very able leader in Gautam (Gambhir). He is a selfless captain who has kept the team’s interest above everything. He did not ask for batting pitches, insisted on keeping grass, and looked for outright wins. He did not have personal interests at all. The team would only excel with such a positive attitude,” Bhaskar said.

The Justice Mudgal-appointed panel may have some teething problems but there is air of expectancy from the men in charge of helping Delhi regain its glory.