KP Bhaskar was on Monday retained as the chief coach of Delhi Ranji team by the Cricket Affairs Committee (CAC) despite non-performance in all the domestic tournaments last year.
Former India all-rounder Manoj Prabhakar has been named the bowling coach, by the Madan Lal-led Committee.
Prabhakar incidentally was the chief coach of the senior team during the 2010-11 season. He has replaced Amit Bhandari, whose performance had also come under scanner. In another important decision, Virat Kohli’s childhood coach Rajkumar Sharma has been appointed the coach of the Delhi Under-23 side.
Sharma runs a popular cricket coaching centre — West Delhi Cricket Academy, where Kohli got his first cricketing lessons.
After deliberating for nearly five days, the Committee decided to retain Bhaskar, despite the senior team’s poor performance in the premier domestic tournaments — Ranji Trophy and Vijay Hazare Trophy.
In both tournaments, Delhi failed to qualify for the knock-out stage.
However the former Delhi right-hander came into spotlight after his heated exchange with veteran opener Gautam Gambhir as they nearly came to exchanging blows.
Gambhir had later in an interview to PTI alleged that Bhaskar was “playing with careers of youngsters and creating divide in the dressing room”.
Gambhir was later reprimanded with a suspended sentence by a disciplinary committee headed by the same Madan Lal, who later headed the CAC which also comprised Saba Karim, Sunil Valson, Amita Sharma and journalist GS Vivek.
Asked to explain the decision to retain Bhaskar, Lal told PTI: “We had to give Bhaskar a second chance. One year is not enough time to judge someone’s capability as a coach. The committee is confident that he will do a better job this year.” Quizzed about Bhaskar’s strained relationship with a senior like Gambhir, who is expected to be selected, Lal sidestepped the issue. “Things like these happen sometimes but we have to move ahead in life. Hopefully, it will be better this time,” said the member of the 1983 World Cup winning squad.
Prabhakar on his part is happy to be back in the Delhi cricket fold. “I want to help Delhi cricket in any capacity possible. Things haven’t been too well and we need to clean the mess,” Prabhakar said. Atul Wassan was retained as the chairman of the senior selection committee along with Robin Singh Junior.
With Nikhil Chopra opting out, veteran Hari Gidwani was back in the panel.
Gambhir and Gidwani did not share a great equation during his earlier stint as selector, under Vinay Lamba’s chairmanship, as they had frequent disagreements on team selection.
Former wicketkeeper-batsman Rajeev Vinayak was entrusted with the Under-19 coach’s job while Bantu Singh is back as the Under-16 coach.
Hitesh Sharma has been named Under-14 coach.