VVS Laxman has lamented the lack of recognition that former coaches are afforded by stating that they were the ones who develop and nurture cricketers, more than the infrastructure. The legendary batsman has also urged the BCCI to invest money in developing more quality coaches in the country.
With so many state-of-the-art cricket academies mushrooming across India, it is easy to forget that, not long ago, grassroots coaching was the domain of individuals with an unconditional love for the game. Coaches gave their heart and soul to the job of grooming young talent and dot Indian cricket’s landscape through those contributions. Ramakant Achrekar has been the most popular among the lot thanks to Sachin Tendulkar’s majesty and apart from him, Vasant Amladi and Vasu Paranjape in Mumbai, Don Rangarajan in Chennai, Chandigarh-based Desh Prem Azad, who nurtured Kapil Dev, Tarak Sinha, and Sanjay Bharadwaj in New Delhi, and Sanjay Rastogi in Meerut are some of the names that come to mind straight away.
However, with the growth of technology and science, the role of the coaches has receded to the background, which seems to have worried Laxman who demands greater recognition for the formative coaches.
"We never ever gave importance to Desh Prem Azad, who identified and nurtured Kapil Dev till he played for Haryana. After that once you play at the highest level or you play first-class cricket, you become mature," Laxman said while addressing the inaugural session of the CII -- Sports Summit 207 in Mumbai.
"I believe that more than infrastructure, a lot of importance should be given to developing quality coaches and that is something, which we have recommended to the BCCI also," the 43-
While stressing the importance of coaches to spot the talents, Laxman also added that he was fortunate that his maternal uncle identified talent in him when he was young.
"My uncle was my mentor. My maternal uncle identified the spark, talent in me and convinced my parents that I got a good chance of playing at the highest level. How many kids have access or an opportunity of having such a guide? I was very fortunate that I had wonderful coaches in the academy where I went to," Laxman, one of India’s all-time best Test batsmen, said.
"All the players who you talk to, who have achieved excellence they will tell that there was a mentor or a coach, who was like an elder brother or a father. Sachin was not because of Shivaji Park (a ground in Dadar), Sachin was because of Achrekar Sir. I think the important message