Azhar bats for Indian head coaches in IPL

Mohammad Azharuddin backed the idea of Indian players as IPL head coaches, and offered his views on pink-ball Tests and Duleep Trophy.

Mohammad Azharuddin wants to see more experiments with pink-ball in domestic cricket before it becomes a regular feature in the international arena.   -  PTI

Former India captain Mohammad Azharuddin believes that the Indian Premier League franchises should appoint former India cricketers as head coaches.

As the president of the Hyderabad Cricket Association, Azharuddin has submitted a formal proposal at the BCCI’s Annual General Meeting on Sunday, and has asked the Board and the IPL Governing Council to think over the matter.

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“I know it is the franchise’s prerogative. I respect that, but when you call it the Indian Premier League, former cricketers need to get benefited. The players from abroad are getting benefited and I have no problem with that. But we have to promote our coaches as well,” Azharuddin said on Monday.

Last week, in an interview to Sportstar, former India captain and the director of National Cricket Academy, Rahul Dravid, had stated that the IPL franchises’ are missing a trick by not appointing former India cricketers as coaches.

And Azharuddin, too, supported Dravid’s views. “We need to respect our players. Our players are as good as anybody, or even better than many. They should become head coaches. There is no dearth of coaches here. I have raised the matter to the Governing Council. Let’s wait and see,” Azharuddin said.

The former India captain was in Kolkata a couple of weeks ago for the Pink-ball Test match between India and Bangladesh, but he doubts if the Pink-ball Test will be a regular affair. “It’s good. But I don’t think they will have a full Test match series. Even if it happens, it will take a longer time. One-off Test is good because we have a good crowd. Unfortunately, we did not have a good contest. We have made the beginning, we need to continue,” he said.

He also believes that the experiments with the pink ball could be done at the domestic level, too. “Maybe, not in Ranji Trophy. But they could try out in some domestic games. That will give you an idea on how things are. The most important feedback will be from the players. I might say a lot of things, in the end, the players' feedback should be given more importance,” he said.

A few days ago, Sachin Tendulkar had requested BCCI chief Sourav Ganguly to revamp Duleep Trophy, and Azharuddin feels that it is time to go back to the old zonal format. “You should get back the zonal thing -- the north, east, west, south. It will make a lot of difference. A lot of people are in line, but they are not selected. Two-three players are from Hyderabad, they have scored 800 runs, but they could not play Duleep. If it’s played in zonal format, there will be more chance for the players. They should go back to the zones. The zonal rivalries are good. There is no harm in trying,” he said.

Talking about the Board’s proposed plan to seek amendments to the constitution, Azharuddin said: “Nobody can decide… it is up to the Supreme Court.” However, he admitted that it would be good if Ganguly’s panel can continue for the full term."