In an era when retirement age is decreasing with every passing year, sports persons take up the managerial role to stay connected with the sport as well as earn their living after they have hung their boots. But there always are exceptions.
We present one to one conversation with Mr. Gurcharan Singh, founder and director of Dronacharya Cricket Foundation, who celebrated his 80th birth anniversary in 2015. Those who think that he is just reaping the rewards of the center he started 15 years back will be up for a surprise. This is because he is as active on the ground, coaching young and upcoming cricketers as he was decades back. He personally looks after the coaching of players to ensure that the quality is not compromised.
A brief profile of Mr. Gurcharan Singh
Mr. Singh played Ranji Trophy for 17 years. He served as a zonal coach for 5 years. He was also the director and chief of Gwalior pace bowling academy. He had a 2 year stint with Indian Cricket Team when Kapil Dev was captain. He is a Dronacharya Award Winner.
Let’s see what Mr. Singh has to say on his academy and cricket in Delhi:
- How is Dronacharya Academy different from other academies?
All academies are good. Earlier students had to travel a lot of distance for coaching. Now academies can be found in almost all the areas. We are running two centres in East Delhi- Arwachin Bharti School and Yamuna Sports Complex. We have different coaches for different age groups’ i.e. under 10, 13, 16, 19 and 19 plus. Although we give equal attention to all boys, we select few boys as per their performance in the matches and groom them for future. All our coaches are at least Ranji Level players.
- How is Delhi Cricket doing on School Level?
Schools are doing well in terms of providing learning to kids. Modern, DPS, Sardar Patel etc. are doing well in producing good young cricketers. At one time there were 6 test players in 7 years from Sardar Patel which is a record in itself. I have coached many schools in Delhi. I was with St. Columbus for 30 years and have also worked with Bal Bharati Air Force.
- How is today’s Cricket generation different from the earlier ones?
As there was less commercialization, earlier generations played more for passion. There was not much incentive in playing the sport so there was less encouragement and support from the parents. There was only one purpose- to play for the country. Today, incentive is there and money is driving the game. Parent’s involvement has also increased. Though everyone aims to play for the country but they know that there are many other options in line for them.
- How is a student guided here and how many reach the next level?
We have good support from DDA who have provided good pitches and grounds for training. It depends from individual to individual. Small kids are admitted in Yamuna Complex branch and coached at that level. We personally make sure that their mistakes are rectified and basics are taken care of.From our academy around 130 boys have gone on to play first class and 11 have represented the country.
- What’s the condition of women’s’ cricket? Is there any scope left?
It’s not really the question of cricket. Some parents allow girls to come for coaching. But then they force them to withdraw due to marriage or some other reason. As of now, societal change is required more than anything else.
- What’s the role of technology in sport?
I am not a big fan. It doesn’t matter actually. Ball hits the sweet spot on the bat and you will get results. A bowler hits the line and length irrespective of the format, he will succeed. Basics are important.
About the Academy:
Dronacharya Cricket foundation was established in the year 200. It currently runs at 2 centres: DDA Sports Complex, Arwachin Bharti School; both in East Delhi. Academy timings are 4 to 7 PM. Age group is 8 to 18 years.