Desh Prem Azad,the coach of Indias 1983 World Cup winning skipper Kapil Dev,passed away following a cardiac arrest at a hospital in Mohali. Azad,who remained Kapils coach in his formative years the 1970s was 75. He is survived by his wife Surinder and two sons Sanjeev Aggarwal and Monish Aggarwal.
A Dronacharya awardee,Azad was admitted to a private hospital two weeks ago.
Born in Amritsar on February 2,1938 DP Azad passed out of the National Institute of Sport (NIS),Patiala,in 1961. Known to be a hard task master,Azad shaped the careers of Kapil Dev,Yograj Singh,Ashok Malhotra,Chetan Sharma and Harbhajan Singh among others.
In an age when Indian bowling was largely dependent on the spin quartet,Azad nurtured the talent of a match-winning fast bowler in Kapil Dev. He was perhaps the first Indian cricket coach who gained the status of a celebrity because of his ability to not only spot talent but also to ensure that it was not wasted.
His sons Sanjeev and Monish also followed in his footsteps and represented Haryana and Punjab in Ranji Trophy respectively. Azad,a right-handed batsman,played Ranji Trophy for Southern Punjab
Speaking to The Indian Express,his younger son Monish said,His intensity as a coach remained till the very end and he continued to be very strict. Although he was unwell for the last one year,he made sure he visited the Punjab Cricket Associations non-residential academies for talent spotting. He was always very keen on coaching budding cricketers. All his former wards,be it Kapil Dev,Ashok Malhotra or Chetan Sharma always remained in touch with him.
Having one of the best talent spotters as a father helped Monish.
He was an exceptional father too. Whenever we were in a fix his motivational talk would help us. He had this tremendous ability to hone talent. He was quick to point out deficiencies in technique.
Azad ran an academy at St Stephens school in Sector 45 Chandigarh from 2006 to 2012.