Kapil Dev paid rich tributes to his coach Desh Prem Azad, who passed away in Mohali after a brief illness at the age of 75 yesterday.
The legendary India all-rounder said Azad taught him to be disciplined which played a huge role in his success. “He was a disciplinarian. I still remember, I reached 20 minutes late for a practice session and he did not allow me to enter the nets for the next three days.
He taught us discipline first and then other things. Discipline was a very crucial factor in being successful,” a shocked Kapil told MiD DAY.
Azad, who played 19 first-class matches, was hospitalised for the last 15 days and breathed his last at a private hospital in Mohali yesterday. Kapil, who first started training under Azad in 1971, said his coach became his friend later in his career.
Kapil said Azad was thrilled when he made his international debut in Pakistan in 1978. “Azad was happy when we first won the World Cup in 1983. But, I guess, he was happier when I made my debut. He was a good cricketer himself. I learnt the basics and finer points of the game from him.”
Kapil spoke on his coach’s Dronacharya award. “It won’t be right to say that he won the award because he was my coach. He has produced international cricketers (Yograj Singh, Ashok Malhotra and Chetan Sharma) and he deserved the award,” said Kapil, who learnt about his coach’s demise at around 1pm yesterday.