Eighty-year-old former Bombay University cricketer Sharad Dhage has just finished yet another summer of cricket coaching and is looking forward to being with his wards again after the monsoons.
This summer’s stint at Kumud Nagar ground in Goregaon (West) coincided with the 10th edition of the Indian Premier League and Dhage is not one of those who feel that T20 cricket is detrimental to the development of young cricketers.
Sharad Dhage (red jersey) coaching youngsters during a summer camp at Kumud Nagar ground in Goregaon (West) recently
According to Dhage, the best part of T20 cricket is that players have improved their fielding standards and fitness levels. However, he is a staunch supporter of straight-bat cricket. "If you want to succeed in cricket then you have to play with a straight bat. Similarly, off the field, you must play with a straight bat which is honestly and not through unfair tactics. IPL matches are exciting and people enjoy it. However, a cricketer can be successful in IPL only if he has a solid foundation based on technique and skills," said Dhage.
The Goregaon resident recently published his fifth cricket instructional book titled ‘Learn, Improve, Grow, Lead and Coach’ in a question & answer format.
He recalled how the late Dilip Sardesai requested him to bowl his brand of off-spin at the National Cricket Club nets just before the India stalwart travelled to the West Indies and helped India win an epic series there in 1971.
Dhage is concerned about the overage issue which was rampant in Mumbai cricket before the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) got serious in getting rid of the malaise recently. "Age-fudging is an old issue and needs to be tackled with stern action against the concerned school, coach and player," he said.
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